Welcome to what we hope becomes a regular monthly feature! Each month, an ALSC member will be profiled and we will learn a little about their professional life as well as a bit about their not-so-serious side. Using just ten questions, we hope to keep the profiles fun while highlighting the variety of members in our organization. So, without further ado, welcome to our first profile, ten questions with ALSC member, Treasure Samuel!
1. What do you do, and how long have you been doing it?
I was a combination children’s and teen services librarian at Seattle Public Library from 2007-2011 before I was laid off due to budget cuts. Since I have been laid off, I have been busy doing all the career things that my busy job kept me from doing. While being laid off isn’t fun, I have really enjoyed being able to put my energy into new challenges, including reviewing books for The Puget Sound Council for the Review of Children’s Materials, presenting story times in the community and at a high needs elementary school through the literacy organization Page Ahead, special librarian projects for Page Ahead, guest speaking in a class at the University of Washington’s Information School, and being a board member of the Washington Library Association’s Children and Young Adults Services association (CAYAS). I tell people it’s all a part of my master plan to take over the library world!
2. How long have you been an ALA member?
I think about 6 years– I joined while I was in graduate school, so that’s about right.
3. Why did you join ALSC?
I kept “meaning” to join, but was so absorbed in the many tasks of my job that I admit to dropping the ball until I was finally able to attend the 2010 ALA convention (which was AH-MAZING!), where I finally joined. Since I work with kids and hope I always will, it was a logical choice! I have really enjoyed the Children and Libraries journal (professional publications are always more fun when they are about working with children!) and I have used the Every Child Ready to Read toolkit often. Plus, I love hearing about the latest book awards!
4. Do you belong to any other ALA divisions or roundtables?
I also belong to YALSA, since I also work with teens. I think it is ideal to be a member of both, since being a Children’s librarian means you encounter a lot of tweens, some of whom are ready for more teen-oriented books and programming.
5. What is your favorite book of all time?
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. I get something new and different out of it each time I read it. I’m due to have a baby girl in January and my husband won’t let me name her Scout, so I’m hoping maybe I can name a future pet after her.
6. What are you proudest of having accomplished in your professional career?
My first job out of library school was the International District Chinatown branch, a tiny little neighborhood library in a strong immigrant community. I was told when I started that it wasn’t really intended to be a programming branch, but that it would be nice to have better attendance at the current programs offered. I took that information as a challenge (it’s the Scotch Irish in me) and I slowly went about getting to know my library and my community. It was a challenge, as many people didn’t know about the library or what an American library could offer them, and I was the only non-Asian person working at that library. I befriended community gate keepers, I surveyed people, I wore my work badge and smile while I shopped at local stores, I did loud programming in the middle of the library (there is no meeting room) even when only a few kids showed up, and I gave out thousands upon thousands of stickers. I was always convinced no one would show up, despite my over the top marketing and sore smiling muscles, but a year later, I had the highest attended Summer Reading Program of all of the branch libraries of Seattle Public Library! Over 260 people attended an all ages Chinese puppet show at the community center next door. The staff at both locations were in tears! It was fantastic. Sniffle.
7. What do you think children’s librarians will be doing ten years from now?
If we’re paying attention to what’s happening around us, we’ll be behind a library desk less and in the stacks and out in the community more. The economic crisis has vividly shown all of us that we can not assume tax payers and law makers will intuitively understand how vital libraries are to educating communities, reducing crime, bridging the digital divide, and better preparing children for school. We need to be seen at the grocery store, in Head Start centers, the mall, the pool– any place where parents, care givers, and kids are. I would also love to see a Tween Librarian role appear in more libraries, as they are a unique (and hilarious) part of our population with special interests that deserve special expertise.
8. Legos or Lincoln Logs?
Legos. You can do so much more with them! I still have mine from when I was a kid and I can’t wait to give them to my daughter!
9. When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?
A soap opera star! My mom watched General Hospital while she ironed and even though I had NO idea what was going on or what they were talking about, it looked so glamorous and dramatic. I used to practice in front of the bathroom mirror. I suspect this may be why my story times are very loud and dramatic and exhausting!
10. How much time do you spend reading each week?
I read like a mad woman these days! With a baby coming, I know my days of reading for pleasure are numbered, so I currently read about 5 books at once, and I probably spend a good 15 hours a week reading a variety of kids, teen, adult, and parenting books.
Thanks, Treasure! What a great start to our monthly profile feature! (Treasure can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)
Do you know someone who would be a good candidate for our monthly ALSC profile? Are YOU brave enough to answer our ten questions? Send us your name and email address; we’ll see what we can do.