Each month, an ALSC member is profiled and we learn a little about their professional life and a bit about their not-so-serious side. Using just ten questions, we try to keep the profiles fun while highlighting the variety of members in our organization. This month, our candidate bravely volunteered to participate. So, without further ado, welcome to our ALSC profile, ten questions with ALSC member, Andrea Vernola.
I’ve been the Children’s Programming Librarian at Kalamazoo Public Library in Kalamazoo, MI for the last 7 months. In this position I present storytimes, plan and implement children’s programs for our Central library and four branches, participate on library-wide programming, web, and technology committees, partner with local organizations and our public schools to promote literacy in our community, answer reference questions at the children’s desk, and so many other things related to serving children in this community. Otherwise, I’ve been a programming librarian for almost 6 years total and am quite used to doing a little bit of everything!
2. How long have you been an ALA member? Why did you join ALSC? Do you belong to any other ALA divisions or roundtables?
I’ve been an ALA member off and on for 7 years. I joined ALSC to meet other children’s librarians, to attend conferences, and to become more involved in the profession. I’m new to having the opportunity to focus almost solely on children and I want to learn as much as I can. I love sharing ideas! I also belong to PLA but have not gotten involved in any committees or roundtables there.
3. What motivates you?
I am motivated by a desire to serve others and a passion for living a meaningful life. I believe every single person has something to teach me and learning new things motivates me. I’ve always been naturally curious about anything and everything. That’s one of the best things about working with children. It’s so much fun to watch their spongy brains develop!
4. What are you proudest of having accomplished in your professional career?
I’m probably proudest of the fact that I really love going to work each day. I believe this is an attitude more than it is related to circumstances. Just like anyone, I have good days and bad days. But I feel like I’ve finally reached that point in my career where I know that accomplishing great work is not about perfection but more about stretching yourself, learning, growing, and trying new things. There was a time when I worried about every little mistake I might make. Risk was to be feared. What if someone didn’t like a book suggestion? What if I made a mistake in a presentation? What if I completely forgot the words to a storytime song? Now I know that mistakes are not fatal. I keep moving, I come up with another book suggestion, I improvise in storytime if I have to, and I apologize when I mess up. And then I work as hard as possible to make things even better!
5. What is your favorite word?
I use the word “awesome” way too much honestly. But my true favorite words are probably any that are fun to say, like “convoluted”, “persnickety”, or “rutabega”. A few words I try to live by are simplicity, authenticity, love, and grace.
6. What children’s book character did you most identify with growing up?
I probably identified with Anne Shirley most growing up. I loved the way she was always dreaming and using big words. I’m thankful for the librarian who introduced me to her! She was a dramatic young girl who faced many difficulties in her young life but she grew into a young woman who loved her family and friends passionately. I remember wondering along with her if when I grew up, I would ever stop getting into “scrapes.” I still read Anne of Green Gables at least once a year.
7. Have you ever participated in a Flash Mob?
No but it’s on my bucket list for sure!
8. Do you use social media?
I love Facebook and I use Twitter more sporadically. I think it’s a fantastic information gathering tool but I don’t have a lot of time to spend on it. Facebook is where I connect with friends, and family who live far away. I also love Pinterest for idea gathering and inspiration storage. But as much as I love the connections social media has afforded me, I just don’t spend very much time on it. I’d rather be reading, playing with my family, and really anywhere disconnected from technology when I do have the chance.
9. Favorite part of being a Children’s Librarian?
I’m doing work that I believe truly makes the world a better place and I’m never bored. There is always something interesting to read, learn, or experience when you work in a library and especially when you work with children. I also happen to think that librarians and people who work in libraries are some of the most interesting and positive people I’ve ever known and working with them is a joy! I guess that was three things. I’m more of a list person!
10. Campfire or fireplace?
Both. But if I really have to choose, then a campfire. There’s really no place I’d rather be than outside under the stars with family or friends. It’s a huge reason why I moved back to Michigan last year. Having a campfire is a three-season activity for me and I now have near limitless choices for beautiful campsites in this great state!
Thanks, Andrea! What a fun continuation to our monthly profile feature! (Andrea can be reached at AndreaV@kpl.gov)
Do you know someone who would be a good candidate for our ALSC Monthly Profile? Are YOU brave enough to answer our ten questions? Send your name and email address to firstname.lastname@example.org; we’ll see what we can do.