Each month, we work to profile an ALSC member, and learn a little about their professional life as well as 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, Amanda Foulk.
1. What do you do, and how long have you been doing it?
I have the good fortune to be the K-12 Specialist for Sacramento Public Library. The position was created for our system 3 years ago, and I have held it since then.
2. Why did you join ALSC? Do you belong to any other ALA divisions or roundtables?
ALSC is doing incredible work, and is setting an example within ALA for supporting our communities in interesting times. I have been a book award fangirl for quite some time, but it was learning about the other great work ALSC is doing that really convinced me to become a more active member. I am also a member of YALSA, the GLBTRT, and the Games and Gaming Round Table.
3. What is your favorite thing about living and working in Sacramento?
It never snows here. I grew up in rural Northwestern Pennsylvania and went to college in the suburbs of Ohio. I have unearthed my car from enough waist-deep snowdrifts to last a lifetime. Seriously, Sacramento is the largest city I’ve ever lived in, and I love the diversity of its community, and the museums, food, and touring theater productions. As for working here, I feel really fortunate to work for Sacramento Public Library. Between the really great staff and a culture of willingness to try new things, it’s a system where I’ve really enjoyed learning and developing new strengths.
4. What is your favorite term people use to describe you?
Enthusiastic. A supervisor once opened a letter of recommendation with the line “If you gathered all of Amanda’s fans in a room and asked them to describe her greatest strength, the answer you would get is “enthusiasm”. That line has stayed with me – it resonated with the way I see myself and it made me feel sincerely valued. I believe in the value of the work we do as a public library, and that’s what fuels and inspires me. It’s part affirmation and part aspiration – if I feel like my enthusiasm for something is waning, I know I need to stop, check in and resolve that in order to be at my best.
5. What do you do when you’re not at work?
Play board games. Write for Guessing Geisel, the Mock Award blog created by myself and two of my fellow 2016 committee members. Work on the fixer-upper my wife and I bought this year (just those never-ending finishing touches). Read for a book award committee (Stonewall Book Award). Foster puppies and occasionally kittens for our city animal shelter.
6. What is the best thing about your library?
We have many strengths, but if I had to pick one best thing it would be that Youth Services is everyone’s business here, and we are always striving to create a positive, welcoming environment for kids, teens, and families.
7. What do you think is the best way for school librarians and public librarians to work together?
Ideally we would work together as allies, with understanding, shared passion, and consideration of each other’s perspectives.
8. What was your favorite book when you were a child?
I Want To Go Home by Gordan Korman. I was thrilled to recently discover it had been reprinted and pick up a new copy, as the copy I purchased for a dime at a garage sale in the very early nineties has long since disintegrated in that way the only the best-loved paperbacks do. Despite the fact that I never attended Summer Camp, it remains my favorite of all the early Gordan Korman titles and lines still pop into my head on occasion.
9. If you were not a children’s librarian, what would be your life’s work?
If I could not work in libraries, museums would have been the field I pursued. Packaging information into innovative exhibits that both educate and delight, perhaps grouping things in unexpected ways to reveal the connecting threads of history and culture would be both a challenge and a joy. Telling stories not just with words but with experiences, artifacts, and spaces.
10. What does success mean to you?
Making a positive difference for my coworkers, the library field, and the communities we serve. A successful day is one where I worked with some of the people I respect and admire to move forward some of our best projects.
Thanks, Amanda! What a great continuation to our monthly member 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!