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, Stephanie Smallwood.
1. What do you do, and how long have you been doing it?
I am the early literacy specialist for the Springfield-Greene County Library District in Springfield, Missouri. I provide training, support and mentorship in early literacy and early childhood development for internal staff, conduct an outreach program which serves families and community organizations, and of course, advocate for families with young children. And like many other librarians, assist with ALL THE THINGS.
2. Why did you join ALSC? Do you belong to any other ALA divisions or roundtables?
Youth librarianship, much like other professions that serve children and teens, is sometimes not regarded with the respect it deserves. ALSC works very hard to improve that. I am not currently a member of other ALA divisions, but I am a long time member of NAEYC.
3. Who is your favorite book character?
Olivia! I give those books to the kids in my life all the time, but it turns out that the only Olivia book I own myself is in Latin… (because I have the kind of friends that buy you your favorite picture books in Latin. It’s ok, you can be jealous.)
4. What are three things you are thankful for?
1) My support system, which includes my fiancé (A.K.A my biggest fan), incredibly close circle of friends, my family, and my supervisor and colleagues.
2) My career. I’m nurturing the roots of my community every day, what is better than that?
3) Beauty. Whether it is nature, music, art or people’s actions, beautiful things remind us that life is worth living.
5. What’s the scariest book you’ve ever read?
I’m not sure if it is the scariest, but I just finished The Nest by Kenneth Oppel. It has an intense, underlying creepiness on multiple levels, I thoroughly enjoyed it!
6. Are you a dog person or a cat person?
While I appreciate dogs, I’m definitely a cat person all the way. I have a black and white kitty named Dani who has been my furry companion for 11 years and I adore her.
7. What’s your favorite thing to do at your Library?
Telling families how amazing they are and all the wonderful things they are doing for their children. So many caregivers feel uncertainty about how well they are raising their kids, my happiest moments are the ones where I watch a mom (dad, grandparent, foster family, etc) become visibly lighter when I tell her that those tiny things she does everyday are exactly what her child needs. And I give kids free books which is pretty awesome too!
8. What do you wish every children’s librarian knew?
That they are having a positive impact on their community every single day. It is so easy to forget that when facing the everyday challenges and frustrations, but every reference interaction, safe place for a teen to be a teen, collection decision, carefully planned program, behind the scenes work, and smile we provide matters. And it matters a lot.
9. What was your favorite book as a child?
Owliver by Robert Kraus, illustrated by Jose Aruego and Ariana Dewey. No existential reason other than I just loved it. And The Poky Little Puppy which I checked out of the library every other week until one time it was overdue, my mother swore we had returned it, and then we found it months later. Oops…
10. What is a hobby you are working on?
I really enjoy cooking, which is a surprise because I never thought I could cook. I like the challenge and creating things that I and others can enjoy. And garlic. I really like garlic.
Thanks, Stephanie! 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 firstname.lastname@example.org; we’ll see what we can do.