ALSC Member Profile

ALSC Member Profile – Rick Samuelson

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, Rick Samuelson.

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

rickelephantI’ve been the Youth Services Librarian at the Washington County Cooperative Library Services for the past four years.  We’re just west of Portland, Oregon.  My regular duties include supporting youth library staff, conducting youth-based outreach to at-risk and underserved populations, coordinating our countywide Summer Reading Program and providing early literacy training to child care providers and parents.

2.     Why did you join ALSC? Do you belong to any other ALA divisions or roundtables?

There is strength in numbers!  Connecting with such a rich network of like-minded professionals has made my career-life so much easier.  I have been extremely active in our Oregon Library Association’s Children’s Services Division for the past five or six years and I’m just starting to get more involved in ALSC.  I’m currently co-chairing the brand new Website Advisory Committee.  So far, the experience has been a blast!

3.    What is your favorite fingerplay?

I love fingerplays!!!!  Our library system has produced a fingerplay booklet, launched a fingerplay video page ( and I’ve recently started to blog about the early literacy connections in fingerplays (  My all-time favorite is a little gem that Katie Anderson (Oregon State Library’s Youth Services Consultant) shared with me years ago: Form the Orange (  I just love its chugga-chugga beat!  I always imagine the peanut butter and jelly time meme when everyone is invited to go bananas.

4.  Do you have a “guilty pleasure” TV show?

I love watching old episodes of Gidget, The Patty Duke Show, and Leave It to Beaver.  I like my TV to be saccharine sweet and utterly fantastical.  Day to day life is full of enough drama.  When I get the rare half hour to watch TV, I always opt for something light and silly.

5.  If budget was not a concern, what program would you like to offer at your Library?

I’ve been busy working on a countywide book delivery program for in-home family child care providers.  The wheels of progress turn slowly.  It’s currently grant writing time.  If things work out, my dream may become reality in about a year’s time.  I see so many book-motivated kids being brought to our libraries all the time, but I know for every kid who walks through our doors there are still many who spend their days parked in front of a TV with little or no access to books.  The first step is getting books in their hands.  Once that is accomplished, I’m hoping to start a more comprehensive system for educating child care providers on best practices in early literacy and book sharing.  Lots of library systems offer programs like this, so I know it isn’t out of the range of possibility.

6.  What children’s book character would you most like to meet?

Elsie Piddock (from Elsie Piddock Skips in Her Sleep by Eleanor Farjeon).  Not only was Elsie Piddock a born skipper, but she also managed to keep up her dedication and drive way past her prime.  I hope I’m able to keep up the good fight against tyranny and ignorance as long as I draw breath.  I know this isn’t a very well-known title, but I would heartily encourage folks to seek it out!

7.  What’s the last song you sang out loud?

I sing my 15 month old to sleep every night.  I love singing old folk songs.  They are super-repetitive, rhythmic and lulling.  Lately, it has been a lot of “The Fox Went Out on a Chilly Night”, “Billy Barlow” and “The Lion Sleeps Tonight” (the “wimoweh” chant puts him to sleep every time!).

8.  Favorite Caldecott book?

The Little House by Virginia Lee Burton.  Burton’s eye for design is second-to-none!  I love watching the slow transitions as the house gradually becomes swallowed up by the messy city.  And just when things seem bleakest, the great-great-granddaughter of the man who built the house comes to the rescue and moves the little house back to the countryside where she belongs.  Rarely do we see the cyclic nature of the life captured in such a beautiful way!

9. Favorite age of kids to work with?

Toddlers (ones and twos)!  I love their boundless energy.  If I could do nothing but toddler storytimes from now until eternity, I would be a happy man.  I love jumping around, making funny animal sounds and singing songs!  I love how everything is brand new for toddlers.

10. Soda or pop?

I grew up in “pop” country.  My wife grew up in “coke” country.  I usually say “soda pop” because I figure it’s the most inclusive.


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

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; we’ll see what we can do.


  1. Angela Reynolds

    Yeah Rick! I just love the WCCLS fingerplay videos and I recommend them all the time. So nice to hear about the awesome things you are doing in my old job! Makes me happy.

  2. Stephanie Lind

    Love it! I have the pleasure of working in the same office with Rick. I learn new things about children’s service from him every week.

  3. Martin Blasco

    I don’t know anybody so dedicated to children’s early learning like Rick! I’m glad that he was interviewed.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *