ALSC Member Profile

ALSC Member Profile – Tami (Chumbley) Finley

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 was brave enough to volunteer to participate. So, without further ado, welcome to our ALSC profile of the month, ten questions with ALSC member, Tami Chumbley Finley!

1.     What do you do, and how long have you been doing it? 

I am the Youth Services Manager at the Bettendorf Public Library – I’ve been in this position since August of 1991. I also wear the official title of Senior Manager and I just completed 4 months as the interim library director. I supervise a staff of 7 and we are responsible for all aspects of library service to children from birth – young adult.

2.     How long have you been an ALA member?

Since 1989 – I was lucky enough to start working at a library that paid for their professional staff’s membership. 

3.     Why did you join ALSC? 

It was natural for me to join ALSC since I had been involved for some time in the Youth Services Division of the Iowa Library Association. I wanted to know about what others were doing in their libraries and stay current with books, programs and trends. I didn’t really get involved as an ALSC member until 2006 (Thanks, KT!). I have benefited so much from my involvement and met some great people in many aspects of the industry.

4.     Do you belong to any other ALA divisions or roundtables? 

I also belong to PLA and have attended many of the conferences but have not gotten involved in any committees. I did, however, speak at sessions at two PLA conferences and hosted a talk table at another.

5.     What motivates you?

Ideas – I told a former boss that was trying to convince me to think about going into administration, that even after 25 years of being a children’s librarian I felt like I had so many ideas left in me that I hadn’t gotten to try that I couldn’t give that up. There is always something new to create, a new way to look at things and I think I have a gift for looking at something and seeing how I can change it to work for the kids in our library. I love the creative process whether it revolves around a program, a display or a new service.

6.  Legos or Lincoln Logs?

I am going to say LEGOS today although I never really played with either of them. We are planning a LEGO Camp for spring break week with a different activity every day. I have learned  lots in my preparations for that – so many pieces, so much money, so many kids that will be thrilled!

7.  Do you use social media?

Yes, I have a Facebook account and have become a recent addict of Pinterest (love it!). I have a “Library Ideas” board on my account and have found tons of new things to pin – crafts for kids, ideas for programming, displays, flannelboard stories and oh, so much more . . . come along and follow me!

8.  Favorite part of being a Children’s Librarian?

I love the point in a storytime when you know you’ve GOT the kids. I can feel when I have them in the palm of my hand and they will follow me wherever I take them. Their anticipation is growing, their excitement is showing and we are having a great time. I know I am leading them in an awesome experience which I hope will create lifelong readers. There are some days when everything just clicks – for me, for the kids, for the parents. On one hand I wished it happened every session, but on the other hand when it happens only once in a while it makes it that more special!

9.  Campfire or fireplace?

Campfire – I have many fond childhood memories from camp and can still sing most of the camp songs we shared around the campfire (although I can’t remember what I had for lunch yesterday LOL!). My family also camped and there is nothing like the smell of breakfast cooking on a campfire or snuggling under a blanket late at night with family and friends gathered around the fire.

10.   What program are you working on now that you are most excited about?

We have just completed 4 months of a new monthly series called Eye-Openers for children ages 2-5. I found that I was letting the storytime themes dictate which books I was using and with Eye-Openers I’ve reversed that process. The program includes about 20 minutes of storytime activities and then the remaining 40 minutes the children move from station to station at their own pace creating crafts, trying tabletop activities, participating in a physical challenge or some dramatic play or practicing a literacy skill. Our themes have been Eye Wonder (with special guest from our sponsor, Eye Surgeons Associates), What’s in that Box?, Lots of Dots and Stirring Up Some Fun in the Kitchen. Coming up on our agenda is a visit from the local art museum educator, What Does a Zookeeper Do? (with a visitor from our local zoo), Howling Hounds, and Get on the Bus! (we do get to ride the city bus!) We’ve had an average attendance of about 30 kids and they are loving it! Each participant that attends 4 of the 8 sessions will receive a free book when the sessions end in April. It has been really fun to plan and execute.


Thanks, Tami! What a great continuation to our monthly profile feature! (Tami can be reached at

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 at; we’ll see what we can do.


  1. Sarah Day

    Tami is my home-girl! I’m happy to see Iowa so well represented! Tami, you’re the greatest!

  2. Christie Brandau

    Tami is one of the best children’s librarians around! Thanks for highlighting an outstanding librarian!

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