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, Liz Delzell.
1. What do you do, and how long have you been doing it?
I am the Youth Services librarian at Woodstock Public Library in scenic Woodstock, Illinois. (Have you seen Groundhog Day? That was filmed right here!) I have been at WPL for just over 10 months and was lucky to have been hired right out of my MLIS program. In my position, I get a chance to do just about everything a librarian might be interested in doing. I am in charge of collection development for both the juvenile and young adult collections, I plan and present programming for preschool and elementary-aged children, I work at the public desk in our Children’s Room and at the Reference Desk in Adult Services, and I serve as the liaison to our local schools.
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 have been an ALA member since 2007, when I first decided to apply to library school. I joined ALSC because I knew that I wanted to work with children in a public library setting and I believed that ALSC would put me in contact with people who were doing just that in creative and innovative ways… and I was right!
3. Favorite Dr. Seuss book?
My favorite Seuss book is probably McElligot’s Pool. My mom didn’t seem to mind it, so it was one that got read over and over when I was a child. I definitely spent a significant amount of time thinking about what a pool like that might look like in real life and how deep that thing would have to be to accommodate it all. As an adult, I think I appreciate the message to do what makes you happy even when people put a lot of energy into telling you that nothing will come of it.
4. What motivates you?
Smiles and laughter. If I can get you smiling and/or laughing, I am going to continue down that path. Smiles and laughter indicate to me that we’ve made a connection – a positive one – and that we’re going to be able to make progress toward whatever it is we’re trying to accomplish because we’ve shared a good feeling. When people smile and laugh at the library, I think they’ve made a positive connection with our organization and what we do because we’ve given them a good feeling. My husband always says that ‘putting smiles on faces’ is what life is all about – I agree so much that I used that as the title for my storytime blog.
5. What do you hope to accomplish in your professional career?
Librarianship is my second career. Before this, I was a middle school teacher. When I was in college, I was a tutor for disadvantaged kids and a camp counselor in the summer. These were jobs I was drawn to because I liked them. I liked what I was doing and I liked who I was working with. The common thread I can pull from them all is that I was working with children and I was trying to make a difference… in their days, in their experiences, and ultimately in their lives. So that is my hope for my professional career as a librarian – to make a difference in someone’s day, someone’s experience, or someone’s life. I guess I just want to be a force for good in our world so I am happy to be a foot solider in the Army of Goodness that is children’s librarianship.
6. What is your favorite word?
My favorite word is espionage. I’ve always thought that it looks and sounds like what it is – sleek, sneaky, a word that should be whispered… ‘espionage’. (Sidenote: if you asked someone who speaks with me on a regular basis, they’d probably guess that either ‘dude’ or ‘awesome’ was my favorite word because I use them both liberally. I called a nun ‘dude’ once. It was awesome… and so was she.)
7. What is your favorite fingerplay?
I like the tweaked version of ‘Itsy Bitsy Spider’, where you do the regular version, then introduce the kids to Itsy Bitsy’s baby brother ‘Eensy Weensy’ and sing it in a super high voice. Then you introduce their big brother ‘Big Giant’ and sing it in a super deep voice. Children and adults alike always seem to crack up and that makes me happy.
8. Legos or Lincoln Logs?
Legos all the way! I remember sitting in a family friend’s basement with a can of Lincoln Logs wondering what on Earth I was supposed to do with this jumble of petrified Tootsie Rolls? I don’t ever remember having an even remotely similar thought about Legos, though. It’s like Lego speaks to kids. They have an innate sense of what to do… and their imaginations run wild. Just the other day, my six-year-old was describing the jungle he’d built from a smattering of Duplo. To me, it looked like a bunch of blocks laid out at random. To him, there were ponds, rocks, trails, trees, and flowers of all descriptions. Again, I say Legos all the way!
9. Jim Gill or Lady Gaga?
Gaga-oh-la-la! Confession, though – I’ve never listened to Jim Gill *dodges thrown puppets*. Sorry! I’m still pretty new to this and at storytime, I do the singing and I use pretty traditional songs. I hear he’s great, though – so I will put ‘Check out Jim Gill’ on my to-do list.
10. Do you use social media?
Use it? I am borderline addicted to it. I keep tabs on… erm, I mean… keep up with friends on family around the world via Facebook and it’s the first place I want to go to share news or ask for advice. I am relatively new to Twitter but I am trying to make connections there, too – especially with other people in our profession. I have a storytime blog that I use to share my storytime themes and crafts and that led to being part of a group of children’s librarians across the country and around the world that share their flannel board stories each week (#flannelfriday). I also really enjoy using Pinterest to gather digital bits and pieces that I come across to share with friends and colleagues. I guess I love social media because I think it allows us all to collaborate both personally and professional in really unique ways.
Okay, so normally, we just have ten questions. Liz had such fun answers — and I couldn’t decide which ones to cut — so I’m using editorial discretion and going with twelve questions instead of ten.
11. Favorite part of being a Children’s Librarian?
There are two things I love about a children’s librarian that are sort of personal to my experience. First of all, I love that people who know me or are just meeting me for the first time are genuinely shocked that I am a librarian. Like the vast majority of librarians I know, I don’t fit any of the tired stereotypes about librarians. More than anything else, I am told that I am way too loud! The second thing I love about being a children’s librarian is the way in which I get to approach my job and the people I work with. Sometimes I get to sit in a rocking chair. I sing songs. I tell jokes. I use puppets and felt. I dance. I use different voices and make weird faces. I use glue sticks and googly eyes. I read picture books and graphic novels. I talk to kids to learn about what they *like* and try to get them more of it. In short, I get to be goofy ol’ me every day and it’s awesome.
12. Winter Olympics or Summer Olympics?
I love the Summer Olympics! I like the Summer Games because I enjoy watching women’s volleyball, women’s gymnastics, mens’ and women’s swimming, and mens’ and women’s track and field events (especially sprints). I do have a soft spot for some of the Winter events, too – the luge, downhill skiing, and speed skating. I love the Olympics period. I guess I really enjoy chanting, “U-S-A! U-S-A!”
Thanks, Liz! What a fun continuation to our monthly profile feature! (Liz can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)
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 email@example.com; we’ll see what we can do.