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 a few questions, we try to keep the profiles fun while highlighting the variety of members in our organization. This month, we randomly selected a candidate who bravely agreed to participate. So, without further ado, welcome to our ALSC profile, ten questions with ALSC member, Christy Kepler.
1. What do you do, and how long have you been doing it?
I am the Head of Youth Services at the Oswego Public Library District. We have two campuses. One is located in Oswego and the other in the neighboring city of Montgomery, Illinois. Our district serves a little under 60,000 people. Eight years ago, I joined the library as a youth services and outreach librarian fresh out of library school. I have been the department head for almost 6 years.
2. How long have you been an ALA member?
I joined ALA and ALSC as a student in 2002.
3. Why did you join ALSC?
Right from the start, my interest was providing library services for children. As a student, I read the ALSC publications to learn about what is happening in the field. I still look forward to reading about all of the programs and services happening across the country. It inspires me and fosters ideas for service to my community.
4. Do you belong to any other ALA divisions or roundtables?
Besides serving children, I am a strong believer and frequent user of public libraries. I also belong to PLA.
5. What do you hope to accomplish in your professional career?
Three things come to mind. I am always drawn to providing quality baby and toddler services. I would love to continue working with this age group. I have started art programs in my library for 1-3 year olds. They have remained very popular for the past 7 years. I would like to use the same format to create a simple science program for toddlers.
I have done presentations on the art programs and summer reading for babies and toddlers. I enjoy speaking to other librarians and helping them start similar programs. The open exchange of ideas is an awesome part of this profession. I hope to do more presentations in the future.
I would also love to serve on one of the national award committees. I have the pleasure to currently serve on a state award committee and I am really enjoying the experience.
6. E-books or Print?
Both! It is just not very snuggly to sit with an E-reader and a toddler in their pj’s. I read a lot of print but, I love my Kindle too.
7. Jim Gill or Lady Gaga?
Hmmm…I will have to go with Jim Gill. Though he doesn’t have any costume changes, his concerts leave me singing a medley of his songs for days. I love using his songs in program with the toddlers and preschoolers. We are really lucky to have him as a local Illinois musician.
8. Favorite part of being a Children’s Librarian?
Summer Reading! The collaboration, creativity and innovation that go into the planning and execution is exciting to be a part of. It is truly a team effort in our department. The energy on kick-off day is like the hour before your birthday party when you are super excited but, a little worried that people won’t come. We are all exhausted by the end in August, but happy and proud too.
9. Favorite Caldecott book?
Mr. Rabbit and the Lovely Present by Charlotte Zolotow with illustrations by Maurice Sendak. It is an honor book from 1962. As a child, I was really drawn to this little book. I loved the idea of a human-sized talking rabbit leading you through gorgeous gardens to find a present for your mother. The lush illustrations by Sendak were icing on the cake. It still gives me a warm comfort to read it.
10. Do you have any pets?
I have a red-eared slider turtle named Bella Lugosi Mohamed (named her in college) and a very loved and a bit spoiled, adopted Jack Russell/Rat Terrier mix named Hoss.
Thanks, Christy! What a fun continuation to our monthly profile feature! (Christy can be reached at CKepler@oswego.lib.il.us.)
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.