Welcome to LIBRARIAN SUPERHEROES–modest defenders of books
Meet Rebecca Donnelly, Youth Services Librarian in Rio Rancho, New Mexico.
I caught up with Rebecca minutes after she completed a dangerous mission, and asked her a few questions.
Flying vs. Invisibility?
Invisibility–I would be a klutzy fly girl.
Can you share a story of a librarian encounter from your childhood?
I have always hoped no one would ever ask me this question, because I don’t have any. I was a keep-to-myself kind of reader, and the greatest influence on my book choices was probably my grandmother. But I vividly remember the children’s room (house, really) at my childhood library. They had bought the house next door to the Carnegie library building and turned it into the children’s area, and a raised hallway was constructed to connect the two buildings. So going from children’s to adult was literally a passage. Not that I thought that poetically back then.
What is the best part of being a librarian?
Best part of the invisible side of the job = collection development. I love buying books for the library! There is great satisfaction in building a really good collection and seeing it get used. Best part of the public side of the job = reader’s advisory. Giving a child or teen the right book is a very special thing.
The bureaucracy and inflexibility that comes with any government job.
What is on your TBR right now?
It’s a nice stack of middle-grade mysteries (Seventh Level by Jody Feldman; The Case of the Case of Mistaken Identity by Mac Barnett; The Egypt Game by Zilpha Keatley Snyder) and a book about mystery writing; Talking about Detective Fiction by P.D. James. Also a book on alchemists; Perdido Street Station by China Mieville; Akata Witch by Nnedi Okorafor (which I’m halfway through), and Geraldine McCaughrean’s The Glorious Adventures of the Sunshine Queen (about a fifth of the way through). I’m also listening to The Borrower by Rebecca Makkai.
If you could say one thing to your patrons, what would it be?
You have more time to read than you think you do!
What books, in your opinion, still need to be written?
This is a tough one. I mean, there is almost every kind of book you could think of in YA right now. Jewish lesbian hip-hop in suburban Minnesota? Check. (Sister Mischief by Laura Goode.) Talll tales of Filipino-British basketball players? Check. (Tall Story by Candy Gourlay.) Stories of transgender teens (I am J by Cris Beam), hard-hitting stories about eating disorders, drug abuse, abusive families–these are the things we tend to think of when we consider what needs to be written. We all want books that speak to readers who are often ignored in mainstream culture, or who want a book that says that they’re not alone. This stuff is there, and I think the real challenge is getting it to the readers. Kids don’t come up to me and say, I want a book about one-legged jerks, bullying, self-hatred, and maybe a swim team, and at the end of it I want to cry. I have that book: Whale Talk, by Chris Crutcher.
What is flying off the teen shelves of your library right now?
In addition to the things you’d expect to be popular (the Maximum Ride series, the House of Night series, Alyson Noel’s The Immortals series), I’ve seen D.M. Cornish’s The Foundling’s Take (formerly Monster Blood Tattoo) series go out often, and Eva Ibbotson’s recently repackaged-for-teens historical novels, like The Reluctant Heiress. And manga, lots of manga. Chibi Vampire, Vampire Knight, Fruits Basket, Antique Bakery.
I definitely want to check out a lot of these books.
Thanks for appearing on my blog, Rebecca!