Our featured Reviewer for March 2009 is Mary L. Mary is the Youth Services Librarian at the Bess Dodson Walt branch library, and her reviews show up regularly on our Staff Recommendations displays and on the BookGuide web site. Reading has always been important to Mary, as she indicates in her answers to our questions about books and reading:
Would you care to share any personal info with our readers — such as where you grew up, what you read as a child, etc.?
I grew up in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, went to college in Virginia, and since then have lived in Kentucky, Wisconsin, Illnois, and Nebraska. Reading was difficult for me as a child, but I loved listening to my mother read bedtime stories (usually Little Golden Books) to me and my 3 siblings. In fifth grade I read an entire Nancy Drew book on one Saturday and that convinced me that I too was a reader!
How long have you been an active reader, and were there any particular books or authors or other people that “made you a reader”?
Being a Youth Services Librarian I especially enjoy children’s and teen books and I think a lot of this interest developed from reading to my own children. I was just as excited as they were when we’d come home from a visit to Gere Library back in the 80’s with a bag full of books, treasures to be explored. We’d sit right down on the living room floor and “dig in”!
How important are books and reading to you, currently?
I love reading – for enjoyment, relaxation, and gaining understanding of people in different life situations.
How do you select what books to read next?
I choose books from the new titles that arrive at the library, from book reviews, award winner lists, favorite authors, recommendations of friends and customers, and sometimes just an interesting cover that catches my eye.
What do you enjoy about writing book recommendations?
I love to share my excitement about a good book and hope to be able to connect others with the great experience of reading. One of my “missions” is to open the doors of children’s and young adult literature to more adults.
Are there any interesting book- or reading-related stories or bits of trivia in your past that you’d like to share with our readers?
My dad traveled with his work and usually brought home books as gifts for us. One time he brought me Understood Betsy which I remember as a thick book with tiny print and a pink cover. Even though it was very difficult for me I was determined to read it since it was a personal gift from my dad (whose nickname for me was Betsy)!
If there was only one author you could convince people to read, that author would be:
This is such a tough question for a book lover, but off the top of my head I’d probably recommend Jerry Spinelli (Maniac Magee, Wringer, etc.) Of course, there is also, Lois Lowry, Katherine Patterson, Jacquelyn Woodson, Donna Jo Napoli, Theodore Taylor, Suzanne Collins… and so many more!
Podcasts that Mary participated in:
‘Casting About, Program 20 (October 2008)
Posted to the BookGuide site in March 2009 | Last updated in June 2016 | Mary L. left the Lincoln City Libraries in 2011