Our featured Reviewer for August 2013 is Meredith M. She’s been associated with the libraries in one way or another since 2003, and her reviews have appeared on the Staff Recommendations pages of the BookGuide web site, and on the Staff Recommendations display at Bennett Martin Public Library, beginning in 2009. Meredith’s latest position is as the curator of the Jane Pope Geske Heritage Room of Nebraska Authors, and she definitely has a passion for Nebraska literature! You can read all about that, and more, in her answers to our profile questions:
Would you care to share any personal info with our readers — such as where you grew up, what you read as a child, how long you’ve been with the libraries, etc.?
I was born in Omaha; as a child I lived in Ralston, Alliance and Wayne, Nebraska. I graduated from Wayne High and Wayne State, then moving to Lincoln. I married my husband, Tom, in 1971; we’ve lived in Washington, DC (while Tom was in the Army), Lincoln, Omaha, Terre Haute, Indiana, where we adopted our daughter and son, Tempe, Arizona, and back to Lincoln. I keep coming back to Lincoln!
When I was young, I remember spending time in the Wayne Public Library; I enjoyed reading Nancy Drew, Trixie Belden, the Bobbsie Twins. Apparently, I liked series. I did work in the library while going to college at Wayne State; I’m sure that had some influence on my getting an MLS at Indiana University-Bloomington in 1988.
How long have you been an active reader, and were there any particular books or authors or other people that “made you a reader”? Has there been any book or author that “changed your life” or strongly influenced you?
I have read most of my life, but it’s more as an adult that I have a book or two in my pile to read at all times. Because I’ve worked in libraries most of my life, it seems like I should read; I’m still more interested in the paper versions, too.
How important are books and reading to you, currently?
Having worked in school and public libraries, often with children, books and reading are very important to me. I try to share that with people; in order to get better at anything, you have to practice. Definitely true with reading.
How do you select what books to read next?
In my current job, as Curator of the Jane Pope Geske Heritage Room of Nebraska Authors, I find myself reading a lot of books by Nebraska authors. Most of my book talks, presentations, etc. feature the writings of Nebraskans. It’s a pleasure to share the state’s strong literary heritage with anyone who will listen!
What do you enjoy about writing book recommendations?
Again, I like to promote Nebraska authors, so this gives me a chance to share new and older titles as well.
What is your history with the Lincoln City Libraries – how long have you been a customer, and how long have you worked for LCL? Which locations?
Since moving back to Lincoln in 2002, I’ve held several positions. In 2003, I first worked for LCL as a summer employee, taking the summer reading program out to sites around Lancaster County. I learned a lot about the county and which towns were where; I had a lot of fun. I did various forms of summer county work for several years; I also worked at Walt Library before becoming the Curator of the Heritage Room at Bennett Martin Public Library in 2005.
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?
About the time I was working at the Sullivan County Public Library in Indiana, Sue Grafton published the first mystery in her alphabetical series, A is for Alibi. I thought at the time, that’s job security, 25 more books! Now she’s published V is for Vengeance and anticipates the publication of W is for Wasted! Yes, I do like series!
Do you have a favorite literary-related website you like to visit or that you’d like to recommend?
Of course, I would suggest that you check out the Heritage Room website!
If there was only one author you could convince people to read, that author would be:
One author…Now that’s a hard question! Let me say that one book that I really identify with is Ted Kooser’s Local Wonders. He mentioned so many things that rang true with me; perhaps you have to be a Nebraskan to appreciate the stories, but maybe not. I would suggest that you read this, if you haven’t already; it was the 2011 One Book One Nebraska selection. Also do read some of his other books. He won a Pulitzer Prize for Delights and Shadows and served as the Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress or as we more commonly say, the United States Poet Laureate from 2004-2006. He’s the only Great Plains poet who has been appointed to this position!
Booklists from Book Talks presented by Meredith:
The Good Life: Nebraska Authors (February 2008)
One Book One Nebraska 2009: A Lantern in Her Hand (June 2009)
One Book One Nebraska 2011: Local Wonders (February 2011)
Heritage Room Highlights – 2011 (September 2011)
One Book One Nebraska 2012: I Am a Man (February 2012)
Crime and Mystery Fiction by Nebraska Authors (March 2012)
Works for Childen and Young Adults by Nebraska Authors (September 2012)
Frogs, Frogs…More Frogs…And a Little Nebraska (February 2018) (as a volunteer)
Nebraska Trivia! (January 2020) (as a volunteer)
Podcasts that Meredith participated in:
Casting About – Program 45 (July 2009)
Bethany BooksTalk – September 25 2009 – 25 Years of the Ames Reading Series (September 2009)
Posted to the BookGuide site in August 2013 | Last updated in January 2020 sdc