Posting this interview is a special treat for me - and I hope reading it is a treat for you. Annette Curtis Klause is one of an intrepid cadre of youth services librarians who also writes for young people (other members include Beverly Cleary, Patrick Jones, and Ellen Wittlinger). Cheers!
I have worked for the Montgomery County Public Libraries in Maryland for thirty years, many of them as head of a children’s department. During that time I have also had four novels for young readers published, and various short stories.
ABOUT YOUR JOB
Currently I work in Collection Management. I select the children’s fiction, picture books, DVDs, and Spanish books for 21 libraries, as well as graphic novels for the children’s, young adult, and adult collections.
What would most surprise people about your current job?
I get to keep hermit crabs in my office.
How do you manage your time?
Lots and lots of Outlook pop-up reminders. LOL. Also, a written yearly plan, divided by month.
Who is your greatest ally and why?
My co-worker who buys the other children’s materials, because she makes me laugh when things get tough, and she keeps candy in her office.
What are the most challenging aspects of your job?
Trying to please everyone on a limited budget.
What's worth fighting for?
Intellectual Freedom. Kids deserve to find the information they need without others getting in their way. Young people have the right to decide what they are ready for and find their own level. Ignorance stunts society.
What's something you wish you had known when you started out in this profession?
There’s a lot more to working in a public library than what you learn in Library School. Coping with difficult people (both the public and staff) should be a core curriculum class.
How do you respond when someone asks you, “You need a degree for that?”
I have a certain little gesture. Well, okay, I’m politer than that, but I do have a look that can stun.
How do you respond when someone asks you, “Isn’t everything online?”
I tell them no it isn’t and explain what the library can help them find in our databases and from the services we subscribe to.
JUST FOR FUN
What fictional character would you most like to be for a day?
Lucy when she was one of the queens of Narnia. I always wanted to go there and meet Reepicheep among others.
Email Annette at firstname.lastname@example.org