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. So, without further ado, welcome to our ALSC profile, ten questions with ALSC member, Chelsea Couillard-Smith.
- What do you do, and how long have you been doing it?
My official title is Senior Librarian in Collection Management Services, but what I actually DO is select all children’s and teen print materials as well as audiobooks, e-books, and e-audiobooks. My library is a 41-branch city/county system that includes the city of Minneapolis, and in addition to materials selection, I get to work on lots of other collection-related projects, too. I’m so fortunate to have a job that allows me to focus on the collection, and I absolutely love my work! I’ve been with HCL since June 2015, and prior to that, I spent 4 years as the Youth Materials Selector for the Sacramento (CA) Public Library.
- Why did you join ALSC? Do you belong to any other ALA divisions or roundtables?
I joined ALSC right out of graduate school because I was just starting out as a youth services manager, and I knew I would need the support and resources that ALSC provides. What I didn’t expect was to find such a wonderful community of amazing peers and mentors who have really helped me find my place in ALA and in the library profession. I’m currently co-chairing the ALSC Intellectual Freedom Committee, and I’ve previously served on the Public Awareness and Newbery Award committees (shout out to FLORA & ULYSSES). I’m also a member of YALSA and the Intellectual Freedom Round Table.
- If given the opportunity, would you prefer to be on American Ninja Warrior, Hell’s Kitchen, or The Amazing Race?
I’d love to be on The Amazing Race! I really enjoy traveling, and it would be fun to see all those amazing places in such a unique way. A college classmate (and rugby teammate) of mine actually won a couple of years ago, so I’ve been thinking lately that it might be time to put together a librarian team!
- What’s the last book you recommended to a friend?
For a co-worker’s baby shower, my Dad wanted to gift a book that the baby could grow into, so I suggested WHERE THE MOUNTAIN MEETS THE MOON by Grace Lin. It’s such a gorgeous book, so it makes a great gift. But I also like that it’s both a great read aloud (for a younger child) and a great independent read for a broad age range.
- What forms of social media do you use regularly?
I use Facebook mostly because it keeps me connected to my personal and professional worlds, but I dabble in Twitter, too, and I try to use Goodreads regularly. I can’t find the time to add anything else!
- What’s your favorite thing to do when you are not working?
I love the outdoors, so when I’m not working (or reading), I’m probably hiking, camping, or biking. And this will be my first summer with a garden, so I’m looking forward to that new challenge.
- What’s the scariest book you’ve ever read?
I have a very low tolerance for scary stuff. I’m still haunted by a particular GOOSEBUMPS title I picked up as a kid that involved murder by decapitation (using a guitar string), and a “children’s” adaptation of DRACULA affected my sleeping habits until about middle school. Don’t even get me started on SCARY STORIES TO TELL IN THE DARK!
- What’s the best book you’ve read recently?
Kate DiCamillo’s RAYMIE NIGHTINGALE has really stayed with me. She manages to keep the story so firmly centered on the girls and their emotions in spite of the chaos in their families. The most fun I’ve had recently was reading the second volume in Varian Johnson’s heist series, TO CATCH A CHEAT. I love the humor and the intricate plotting.
- Do you normally celebrate holidays? What’s your favorite?
I am a Christmas FIEND. I usually start listening to Christmas music in November because we have a house rule that I can’t start before Halloween. I love all the traditions: baking, selecting and wrapping presents, decorating the house, spending time with family. There’s a peacefulness to the season, one that comes from the cold and the stillness of Midwestern winters, I think, that really appeals to me.
- Do you remember the first book you ever read?
When I was 5 years old, my family spent about a year living in Lesotho in southern Africa. My parents were planning to homeschool me, so they made some books to teach me to read. I’m told that I read through all the books they’d made and demanded more, so they decided to send me to “real” school instead. I’d love to read one of those homemade books again!
Thanks, Chelsea! What a fun continuation to our monthly profile feature!
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.