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, Rachel Fryd.
1. What do you do, and how long have you been doing it?
Currently I am the Young Adult materials selector for the Free Library of Philadelphia. In the past 12 years I have been a children’s librarian, branch manager, and the youth services coordinator.
2. Why did you join ALSC? Do you belong to any other ALA divisions or roundtables?
I joined ALSC so I could go to conferences! But the best part of being an ALSC member is participating on committees where I can meet and learn from other librarians who are just as passionate (if not more passionate) about library service for children as I am. I like to think of my far flung colleagues as my camp friends that I see once or twice a year at conference with tons of emails and social media contact in between. I’m always surprised and intrigued by the new ideas and programs that librarians around the country come up with!
3. What form(s) of transportation do you prefer?
I’m really into trains right now – I took AMTRAK from Philadelphia to Boston for the Midwinter Meeting this past January and it reminded me how pleasant travel by train is compared to flying. It actually inspired me to take a cross country train journey this May – Philadelphia to Oakland over the course of two weeks!
4. What is your dream job?
I’ve actually been really lucky to have had quite a few of my dream jobs already – I loved working on Summer Reading for the entire city of Philadelphia as a Youth Services Coordinator and I’m currently having more fun than should be allowed at work as the Young Adult Material Selector for our library system. But if I had to choose the all-time dream job I think it would be to own a children’s book store. In fact, sometimes on the weekend I wind up doing accidental readers advisory in my local independent bookstore. I figure I’m just a few million dollars short of achieving this dream.
5. Vegetarian, Vegan, or Carnivore?
Just a picky eater – have been all my life, but my particular brand of picky eater happens to overlap mostly with a vegetarian diet. I still don’t like broccoli though.
6. What’s the favorite part of your job?
My favorite part of the job is finding the right thing for the right person at the right time – be it a book they are looking for or helping a colleague fill out a tricky purchase order or introducing – I love learning and then sharing that information and ideas.
7. Do you have any tattoos or piercings?
I have my ears pierced but I almost never wear earrings – which is silly because I BEGGED my Mom to let me get my ears pierced as a kid. I don’t have any tattoos – just when I think I might be interested in getting one a new “20 Worst Tattoo Fails” article comes out… and I scare myself out of doing it.
8. What is your favorite age of kids to work with at the Library?
I really like kids of all ages – there are so many great things about all ages – but I think my favorite age is that middle grade age – your 8 to 12 year olds. There is a fearlessness and an unselfconsciousness to them. They are happy to tell me that they loved or hated the book I recommended and why. This is also the age where they are most likely to come in afterschool and reenact a Lady Gaga or Beyoncé video for no reason other than they love it. (True story – the kid in question is 17 now and still does Beyoncé just on his Instagram instead of in person.)
9. Coffee, tea, water… or something else?
Coffee. Also coffee with maybe a side of coffee.
10. What do you wish every children’s librarian knew?
That being flexible is more important that being right. That library service is about relationships. That you might be the only nice or supportive adult a kid interacts with all day. And the kid causing you the most trouble is the one who will remember you the most in 10 years – and the one you’ll remember the most too.
Thanks, Rachel! 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 email@example.com; we’ll see what we can do.