I realize now that my short introductory post didn't explain why I'm qualified to review books and push children's literature on you. So, I feel a little explanation is in order.
My very first job was at a public library as a shelver. Thanks to a good memory, I quickly came to understand the library and the Dewey Decimal System (I love you, Dewey!). Soon, I wasn't just shelving, I was helping with reference and reader's advisory, because who knows the library better than the shelver?
In college, I studied Psychology and Sociology, always with a focus on children. My first real job at a car dealership was enough of a drag to convince me to go back to library school. I earned my Master's of Library Science (yes, you do need a master's degree to be a librarian) from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2006. Just so you know, U of I is the best library school in the country for children's services. And yes, I am quite proud of that. And yes, our sport's teams are terrible and our new athletic director is a disgrace, but I digress.
Anyway, after grad school I started working at a library in a Chicago suburb. Right away I was doing storytimes for children ages 2-6, and going out to preschools for storytime. I switched libraries to work with a more broad age range and ended up serving everyone. I did Preschool Storytime, Library Capers for grades 1-6, and supervised the teen volunteers. I loved my kids! I miss them dearly and really wish I could get back to programming. But the goods news is that I've taking over Vacation Bible School this summer, so my wish came true!
So, how did I go from being a crazy-involved librarian to a secretary? Love. I got married in 2009 and my hubby and I decided we wanted to buy a house, and have a family and all that jazz. But the suburbs are crazy expensive and crazy competitive and I grew up on a farm outside a small town in Southern Illinois. I wanted to give my kids a similar upbringing and that didn't seem possible where we were.
And then, Doug's company went bust. My hubby, Doug, is an engineer, and his firm started having financial trouble, then management trouble, then legal trouble. Then we left. Doug got a great job downstate, and we moved to a small town we knew virtually nothing about. And we love it.
But that bad thing about small towns is that they have one small library. And in that one small library is a children's librarian that has been there forever! This is not a job you find in the want adds-it's a job you find in the obituaries. So, no library jobs for me, but I needed something. Lucky my extreme organizational skills fit right into secretarial work. For the past year, I've been keeping up with the library scene by reading journals, newsletters, and blogs to keep up on the latest, and trying to cram in as many children's books as possible. On my required reading list, the Monarch, Bluestem, and Caudill nominees-all the children's choice awards for Illinois. I'm also picking up the Lincoln Awards this year. I'd love to get through the YALSA top 25, and all the Youth Media Award winners and honors. And then of course, the hots new titles getting buzz.
So, I have a lot to do! Just stay tuned to see if I accomplish all of this.