ALSC Member Profile

ALSC Member of the Month — Jane Breen

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 (plus one) with ALSC member, Jane Breen.

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

Photo courtesy of Dorothy Breen

I am a Family Literacy Advocate and Educator, Teen Volunteer Coordinator, award winning program innovator and Community Outreach Librarian.* swish cape *  As  the Children’s Specialist in the Faxon Branch Library, part of the West Hartford Public Libraries, I am responsible for Children’s and Teens programs, services, collection development and all things creative within my department.  I have worked in Youth Services in the small but mighty state of CT for 27 remarkable years – both schools and public libraries. I am a believer in the statement: “childrens librarians are the Jacks and Jills of all trades.”

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

I joined ALSC to grow, learn and be informed. The professional development along with the many resources and national networking opportunities are outstanding. I’ve come to believe that good librarianship is collaborative so with that in mind…I am sending a virtual hi-five to all members for the many things you have shared so willingly.  You rock my little branch.  Up high!

Oh,  I’m a  member of the incredibly creative, supportive and inspiring group known as Flannel Friday which makes me a flannelizer – and no, that’s not a cult!

3.  What do you think children’s librarians will be doing ten years from now?

Love this question because for the life of me…I do believe we will be doing nearly the exact same things we do now. We will be modeling and talking early literacy skills. We will provide reader’s advisory and assist our educators, families and community with all things “family literacy.”   We are the champions of bringing the village together to build readers and lifelong learners.  Through the joy of reading and taking ownership of their library, we help children build the foundation to become happy, healthy and successful adults.  Dual language families may move more into the spotlight as diversity plays a bigger role everyday in life and literature.  I hope libraries respond with practice Spanish classes, practice Vietnamese, etc;.. with native speakers as we do with our current practice English classes. I see this as a necessary step for U.S. kids.

4.  What is your favorite food harvested in the fall?

Ha!  May I just say Carrot Cake?  Thanks!

5.  Would you rather offer storytime to a large group of preschoolers or read one-on-one with a child?

There are positives to both and now that I am a grandmother I once again adore reading all snuggled up one-on-one.  In the library, the large group program is a parent and child confidence builder that I can not resist.  Long before I came to work at my branch – a colleague had established pajama story time on Monday nights and it is a do-not-mess-with-tradition!  Parents and preschoolers pack the house –  it’s my favorite program of the week.  This story time is rooted in ECRR, with literacy tips for the parents and excitement and energy from our story time mascot, Piper.  She is a black lab puppy…a very real puppet – the only one of her kind!  And she rules Monday night. Oh, and then there’s magic fairy dust.

6.  What’s one “rule” you wished every librarian followed?  

I truly only have one rule for library and librarianship.  I learned this rule from the amazing Mrs Clancy, Media Specialist in the Groton Public Schools, BE KIND.  That’s it.  It works everywhere, every way…try it!  It’s honestly all you’ll ever need.  Thank you Mrs Clancy.

7.  Have you ever skydived?

O.M.Gosh..I went to a full day training with a friend a very long time ago.  Learned to pack our chutes, did a zip line thing in full gear  Practiced counting, planning with partners, higher zip line trial, pull chutes, pack them again and get on the plane. Well long story short I came down with the pilot, sitting in the co-pilot’s seat.  Loved It!  My friend jumped.

8.  Would you rather go bungee jumping or deep sea fishing?

Fishing, of course!  I adore the ocean and I am obviously not so good at jumping into open air!  (see above)

9.  E-books or print

My preference is print all the way.  Honestly a large part of my work – is picture books and I feel that we have to be able to hold them and love them.  We have to experience the joy of the page turn and you know, the smelll!  To stay on top of the teen collection I often listen to the audio and for my own grown-up pleasure reading – it’s print or audio.  Maybe this is an age thing!

10.  Do you volunteer?

Yes…Light One Little Candle is a national non-profit foundation I’ve worked with since it’s inception.  We bring books to cancer centers across the country.  The approach is a bit different than you’d think – the patient is the adult.  The concept began with a friend of mine who unfortunately lost her cancer battle.  She knew the value of reading and found that it was all she could do with her daughter as cancer came to own her. That is, she could no longer run, swing, swim but she could cuddle and read.   So we make sure adult cancer patients have books to read with the children in their lives.  They get to keep the books forever. Pretty cool.


Thanks, Jane! 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; we’ll see what we can do.

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