ALSC Member Profile

ALSC Member of the Month – Laura Simeon

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, Laura Simeon.

  1. Courtesy photo from Laura Simeon.
    Courtesy photo from Laura Simeon.

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

This is my fourteenth year as Librarian and Diversity Coordinator at Open Window School in Bellevue, WA, a K-8 independent school for gifted learners. It’s a vibrant, innovative community and I love my two roles which feel perfectly complementary! I also run the school geography bee, and am a reviewer for SLJ and Kirkus.

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

I joined for the great networking and professional development opportunities, as well as the subscription to Children and Libraries. I also belong to AASL and EMIERT, and am a member of the Coretta Scott King Book Awards Committee.

  1. What’s the best thing about Fall?

It’s crispy! The air, the apples… and I always think of Vita Sackville-West’s phrase “through leaves,” referring to small things that bring tremendous pleasure, such as walking through crunchy autumn leaves.

  1. Do you have any pets? What kind?

Two long-haired cats, Violet and Penelope. One is brown and white, and the other is black, so no matter what I wear, their fur shows up. They rule our home with velvet paws, and I cater to their every whim.

  1. What was your worst vacation experience?

The summer of 1990 I was in Zagreb studying Croatian language and folk dance in over 90° temperatures with no air conditioning. I caught strep throat and then had an allergic reaction to the penicillin, breaking out in head-to-toe hives! However, I was in a beautiful place soaking up the culture and eating a lot of burek, so it really wasn’t too bad…

  1. What is one thing you wish people knew about you?

When you grow up as the biracial daughter of an anthropologist, moving frequently, you end up feeling at home everywhere and nowhere. People always ask “where are you from?” but I think a more interesting and telling question is “where do you most like to be?”

  1. What’s the funniest book you’ve ever read?

The Adrian Mole series by Sue Townsend, who was a true working-class heroine, has me in stitches every time. Sheer genius!

  1. What volunteer or altruistic activities are you involved with?

I’m proud to be a member of the US Selection Committee for the UWCs, a network of boarding schools that promote peace and a sustainable future by bringing together teens from over 150 countries. I was fortunate enough to attend the campus in Wales, situated in a castle that bears a striking resemblance to Hogwarts!

  1. What’s your favorite outdoor activity?

I like to putter along, scavenging for things to collect – berries, sea glass, interesting rocks…

  1. What’s the best book you’ve read this year?

I’d have to choose It Ain’t So Awful, Falafel by Firoozeh Dumas because it’s the book my young, book-crazy self needed but sadly couldn’t even conceive might exist given the utter lack of diverse children’s literature in the ‘70s and ‘80s. We were Greek and Japanese, not Iranian, but in many ways it felt like reading about my own family! I also appreciate how Dumas uses humor to create empathy, rather than evoking pity, which is distancing.

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Thanks, Laura! 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 alscblog@gmail.com; we’ll see what we can do

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