Book Features

Library Loves // Interview with a teen librarian

As part of #LibraryLoves month, today is Library Day; a day dedicated to promoting and supporting libraries.

So for Library Day, I’m delighted to be sharing an interview with Rachel @Recitrachel, who is a librarian for teens in Chicago, USA.

1. Thanks for agreeing to this Q&A! Tell us a bit about you! 

Hello! I’m Rachel (aka Rec-It Rachel), professional book-pusher and a full-time librarian in the western suburbs of Chicago.

Image result for fire kristin cashoreI read basically every genre (except “middle aged allocishet white dude has midlife crisis literary fiction” “minecraft tie in novels” and “Stephen King-level horror”) and my favorite book of all time is Fire by Kristin Cashore.

I have a dual degree in Psychology and Theater in addition to my Masters in Library Science, and I have a Welsh Terrier named Winston who loves to bark at squirrels. You can find me on Twitter, Instagram, or my website, as well as at my working database for upcoming YA releases!

2. What first attracted you to being a librarian?

Weirdly, someone (I don’t even remember who) was like, “You know you should be a librarian” and I was like “Huh. yeah that makes sense…”

3. What’s the library like where you work? Is it a big city library or a smaller, local library? How do your library buy/receive new books? Do you get a lot of visitors?

We are a single library (rather than part of a branch system, which is how the larger cities operate) for a community of around 35,000 people.

New books are divided up among different selectors. We have one person who does all of adult fiction and adult e-books and e-audiobooks, then non-fiction is divided among a lot of the adult services department.

Over in youth, we have someone who selects picture books, someone who selects beginning readers, and someone who selects middle grade fiction. There’s someone who selects MG graphic novels and MG audiobooks, someone who selects children’s nonfiction, and then me.

I select all of the YA fiction, teen nonfiction, teen graphic novels/manga, teen audiobooks, and middle grade and YA e-books and e-audiobooks.

We always have people in the library, different amounts at different times. Usually the big wave of adults is either early in the morning or in the evening, because the kids/teens all come over after school (we are across the street from the 4/5 school, and down the block from the 6/7/8 school).

4. Describe a typical day working at the library for you. 

The best part about working at the library is there isn’t a typical day. Because my job covers all the teen stuff, I do book selecting, middle school/high school outreach, in-house programming…so I’ll show you what this week looked like for me.

MONDAY: 1pm-9pm shift
“ON DESK” 2pm-5pm. Basically I sit in our teen space after school and make sure they aren’t like swearing or choking each other…general behavior management.

TUESDAY: 1pm-9pm shift
“AFTER SCHOOL ZONE” 3pm-4pm. For the first hour after school, we have our meeting room open for kids/teens to come and either talk/work at tables or play FIFA on the Xbox/Super Smash on the Switch.
“HAUNTED MANSION ESCAPE ROOM 4th-6th GRADE” 4pm-5pm, 5pm-6pm. I ran two sessions for 7 kids each of a Haunted Mansion Escape Room that I planned entirely myself, and then ran as their “ghost host”.


THURSDAY: 9am-5pm shift
M MIDDLE SCHOOL 9:20am-9:40am. Historical fiction book talks at one of the middle schools.
M MIDDLE SCHOOL 2:10pm-2:30pm. Historical fiction book talks at one of the middle schools.

FRIDAY: 9am-5pm shift
M MIDDLE SCHOOL 9:20am-9:40am. Historical fiction book talks at one of the middle schools, different teacher from Thursday.
M MIDDLE SCHOOL 2:10pm-2:30pm. Historical fiction book talks at one of the middle schools.

Whenever I’m not doing one of these types of things, I’m sending emails, planning programs, looking at books to buy…all sorts of things!

5. Tell us about one of the best experiences you’ve ever had working as a librarian?

Whenever teens trust me enough to run up to me asking for queer books! I can’t narrow it down because it’s happened way more than once.

6. What’s something that people are always surprised about when you tell them you work in a library?

I don’t have a very powerful shush.

7. Do you have any pet library peeves?

Kids eating chips with flavor dust on them (i.e. Doritos, Takis) and then using the computer right away while the dust is on their fingers.

8. What’s your favourite bookish meme?

I love memes and I love books, I don’t necessarily have favorite bookish memes? I feel like any time anyone on Facebook with me sees them, they just tag me in them (which is funny, ngl).

9. Finally, what’s one piece of advice you’d give to readers who want to use and support their library more?

Use library books in your bookstagrams! Request upcoming books from the library! Stop at a public library on your road trip and take some cute pics! Just don’t ever be afraid to talk about the library, it’s a great public resource.

Rachel Strolle

Rachel is a librarian, former bookseller, and, above all things, a reader. It’s much easier for her to love a book than to hate it and she reads at a ridiculous speed. She likes puns and like the reactions of other people to puns even more.

Find her on on Twitter, Instagram, and on her website. She also has a (brilliant) working database for upcoming YA releases.

Huge thanks to Rachel for taking part in this interview and sharing such insightful answers!

Do you use your library often? What books would you like to see available? 

Until next time,KateNEW

10 thoughts on “Library Loves // Interview with a teen librarian

  1. I would love to use more often my local library, but the books they have there are more for research purposes so I have to buy the books I do want to read. Still, being surrounded by books is the best feeling ever!

    1. Aww thanks so much! Rachel did an amazing job with it! Yeah, I definitely think we should try and utilise them more wherever we can, especially because it means the government (in the UK, for sure) is less likely to close them if they see they’re being used frequently 🙂

  2. I loved reading this. Great interview. I used to go to the library at least once a week, sometimes even every day. But when I went to college I didn’t have much time to go there anymore and now that I am working I still don’t have much time to go there. I do donate my books that I don’t want anymore for whatever reason to the local library.

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