From the Archives | The History of a Librarian-in-Training

The following post was previously published on my library internship blog, oh so nerdily titled The World Is Quiet Here, and found at the following address: If you don't know what the title references, go read A Series of Unfortunate Events.

 People often ask me what made me choose librarianship as my career path to follow, and I'll usually tell them "I just love being around books," mostly because I can't think of any deeper reason on the spot. But after they've walked away, and I'm left with the question still hovering around in my mind, I can begin to pull together the real reasons why I want to be a librarian "when I grow up."

 Yes, I love reading, and even just being around books. I can't remember a time when I couldn't read. At six, I got my first library card, signing the back in ballpoint chicken scratch. My first pin number was 1111 (I was the first child and ones were easy to remember. My sister had twos.) I remember the old DOS-based computer catalog that sat in the children's section. We became well acquainted even then. At the age of eight or nine I figured out how to use the library website to place holds from the comfort of my home. My dad only let me check out three of the twenty books that showed up at the library for me later that week. At ten, I was allowed to walk the half-block the library by myself, for a half-hour at a time. My mom has a picture of me walking across the street in the rain with our giant red and white golf umbrella. She was afraid that I was going to be abducted and that it'd be the last picture she'd ever have of me. A love of the contents cultivated a love of the place. I loved books, so therefore, I loved libraries.

  It wasn't till I was in late middle school to early high school that I started to think that I might want to BE a librarian however. There were two spectacular librarians in my life at this point that I believe started shaping this desire in me. We lived in Tallahassee at the time, and would frequent the main branch library as a family on Friday evenings. We'd pick my dad up from work, grab some mexican food at On-the-Border, then head to the library to stock up for the next two to three weeks. Working the Youth and Children's services at the Leroy Collins Leon County Public Library was a wonderful young librarian by the name of Sarah. Maybe it was the fact that she had the same name as me; maybe it was her amazing red hair, but I wanted to be just like her. She had the best job ever.

  When we weren't visiting the downtown library, my mom would take us to a smaller, closer branch for home-school book club in the afternoons. That's where I met Karen White, also young, lovely and working in the best job ever. She facilitated our club meetings, leading conversation of 10-15 home-schoolers in her little office where we'd sit on the floor, on the desk, on boxes, wherever we'd fit, discussing Shane, Eragon, The Outsiders and other books of our (and our mothers) choice. I still remember the first time I saw her diploma on the wall in the office. She held her Masters in Library Science from Florida State University, and that was the first time I realized that you could go to school to be a librarian. So in my junior year of high-school when my dad asked what I might want to go to college for, we started researching library schools.

  It wasn't till half-way through my freshman year of college that I actually got my first shot at working in a library. I think that it probably solidified my desire to make it through 4-6 years of school. I found that I received intense satisfaction from being able to point people in the direction of the books they wanted, and from keeping my little kingdom of stacks well-ordered. But what I found I loved the best was helping kids find that perfect book, the one that made their eyes light up and got them excited to read. That on the deepest level is my reason for becoming a librarian. I want to share my passion for books with others, to grow young readers, and to cultivate the next generation of the Knowledge Keepers that are Librarians.

The Chilbury Ladies' Choir | The Library Girl Reads

The Chilbury Ladies' Choir The Chilbury Ladies' Choir by Jennifer Ryan
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Expected Publication: February 2017

*I got a free copy of this ebook from netgalley for review purposes, a fact which does not influence my review.*

When the men of the English village of Chilbury have all gone off to fight in the war, the church choir is disbanded. Leave it to a group of plucky women to band together and insist on the importance of singing for their community and morale. Thus, the Chilbury Ladies Choir is formed.

This book appealed to me in three ways, so I will approach this review from each angle.
1.) The epistolary style
2.) The WWII time period
3.)Ladies Choirs --- or just ladies being awesome.

1.) The epistolary style
I'm a sucker for books framed as diaries or written correspondence, so the fact that Chilbury was billed as such, was the immediate draw for me. I enjoyed it, as the small segments makes for a quicker paced read, but I had a hard time with the believability of the letter and journal writing style Ryan employed. In particular, Venetia's letters to Angela felt a bit too expositional for them to be realistic. I've read, and even *written* some very detailed letters, conveying conversations and all, but they didn't read like polished prose. -- but that was pretty much my only beef with the book. Lets move on.

2.) The WWII time period
Another weakness of mine is this period, and Chilbury didn't fail me here! The setting and characters felt appropriately authentic, and I was practically casting them in my head with BBC actors for a mini-series. (PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE BBC!) It was like sitting down for Masterpiece theater on Sunday night. ABSOLUTELY DELIGHTFUL!

3.) Ladies Choirs --- or just ladies being awesome
The name sake and heart of this book, the moments with the choir was really the shining gem of this book to me. A lifelong choral singer, and general appreciator of music, (and those wonders of Welsh/British hymns. *coughCough* I Vow To Thee, My Country *coughCough*) I resonate deeply with the themes of music for healing, and helping one through hard trials of the soul. There are plenty of quotes I'd love to share on this, but can't due to advanced reading copy restrictions... but I'll try to update the review once the book is published with those quotes :)
I've read plenty of the women of wartime stepping up taking charge and ownership of their lives and community when their men were away fighting, and this book handled that subject matter exceptionally. I particularly loved the Mrs. Tilling storyline, as she had the most character development of the whole cast.

I will definitely be recommending this book to my library for acquisition, and recommending to several patrons that frequent my circ desk.
And to you! Look for this lovely on shelves in February!

View all my reviews

Reading Year in Review : 2016

I LOVE statistics, so end of the year wrap up posts are a weakness of mine. Goodreads has a really good infographic style way of showing you your year in books (at least the ones you tracked through the site) so I thought I'd share mine.
My numerical goal for reading this year was 60, a number I picked for two reasons: 1) I read 52 books last year and wanted to challenge myself. 2) I wanted to track my reading through instagram and make a photo book at then end of the year, and 60 is the the number of photos one Chatbook will hold! I ended up reading 82. ("Hamilton wrote... THE OTHER FIFTY-ONE!" yeah, thats how I feel about that over-achievement)
My "theme" for the year was loose ... in 2015 I attempted the Popsugar challenge (you know the one... it was all over Pinterest) and it definitely got me reading out of my normal ruts, but by the end I was burnt out on reading what a list proscribed, so I told myself this year that I would read a.) old-fashioned girl books and b.) whatever I dang well wanted.

I feel like I accomplished both pretty well. (Favorite Old-Fashioned Girl Book: Daddy Long Legs)
My favorite and best month for reading was January, as I had good music to listen to while reading, and we got some snow... that plus the MLK holiday meant some good times spent under covers reading.

During the summer, I binge read through the majority of the Alice series by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor. Averaging at barely 150-200 pages each, ploughing through this 80's middle school series was like spending the afternoon on the couch watching my favorite 20min TV comedy series'. I regret nothing.

September was pretty great for my reading life, as I got enfolded into a book club that is everything I've ever wanted. Yay for finding fellow booknerds!

I tried two different book tracking apps this year. the first one, Bookling, which I found via Buzzfeed, being absolutely perfect, with its cute graphics and achievement badges... untill it caught a bug halfway through the year and went postal. I'm gonna give it another try this year to see if the kinks have been worked out.
The other, Leio, has a clean, no-nonsense interface, and isn't very exciting, but, Oh! what numbers it tracks. Since it tracks by pages read over time, you can find out your average reading speed, habits and more.
However, I quit using apps entirely by the end of the year, cause I just wanted to read.

Finally, for the year's superlatives.

Most Likely to Make Me Delete My Social Media // The Circle - Dave Eggers (FABULOUS!)
Best Overall Reading Experience/Best Magical System // Carry On - Rainbow Rowell (read with this playlist on repeat)

Best Mainstream Book "Everybody's reading it!" // Me Before You - JoJo Moyes

Most Disappointing // Eligible - Curtis Sittenfeld (note: someone needs to teach Mr. Sittenfeld about chapters. like what even?)

Most Anticipated // The Crown - Kiera Cass (OhEmGee)

Best Audio Book //  Major Pettigrew's Last Stand - Helen Simonson

Best Book Ever // The Awakening of Miss Prim - Natalia Sanmartin Fenollera

Most Challenging Read // The Devil in the White City - Erik Larson

Funniest Book/ Most Mac and Cheese References // Scrappy Little Nobody - Anna Kendrick

Best Middle Grade Fiction/Best Folklore // The Door By the Staircase - Katherine Marsh

Best Graphic Novel // In Real Life - Cory Doctorow, Jen Wang

That's all y'all! Check up in the pages above for my 2017 reading plan.
Happy Reading!

- Sarah