Profiles: NAI Librarians
In honor of National Library Week, NA EYE sits down with our very own librarian and library secretary.
April 12, 2018
You started your career as an English teacher, so what made you decide to switch professions?
I wanted to get my masters degree in curriculum and instruction, but I felt that there was something more that I was missing. When I went to talk with with my advisor, she was trying to fill the library program. Before this point, I had never considered becoming a librarian. As I child I loved to read, but I lost interest during my high school years. When I started taking classes, I fell in love with reading again and wanted to help kids who hated reading find books they loved too.
Can you please tell us about your blog, Cat-alogers, Unite!?
As a librarian, people are always asking me what I am reading. I wanted to create a blog to keep my students up to date with my latest favorites. I am also your typical cat-loving librarian. When my students found out about my cat, Gary, they became obsessed with him. I turned their love of Gary into an incentive to get them excited about reading. My sister then came up with the idea to incorporate Gary into my blog by rating books based on Gary’s paws rather than stars.
(Check out Ms. Ziemski’s blog:https://micahjoyziemski.wordpress.com/ )
The library has undergone several incredible renovations this year! Would you be willing to share any goals that you have for the library next year?
While I have several goals for the library next year, I am not sure if anything else will change because of all of the renovations we did this year. Ideally, I would like to get new carpet and creative lighting to brighten up the space. We are also planning on putting drywall above the windows and working with the art department to incorporate student artwork on the walls.
With the rapid integration of technology in schools, how has the library changed since you were a student and how do you see the library changing over the next decade?
When I was a student, libraries had no technology. Instead, there were card catalogs, hardback books, and large atlases. Now, however, I think that the key to a great library is balance. This is an exciting time for libraries because the mixture of old and new resources such as ebooks, hardback books, laptops, and iPads allows students to use the library in so many more ways. Each librarian is different. Some continue to stick with tangible, hardback books, while others have welcomed the integration of ebooks. I think it is important to meet in the middle and find that balance between a traditional and modern library.
What other hobbies/activities do you enjoy besides reading?
I am a huge Pens fan, I do a lot of yoga, I refinish furniture, and I enjoy spending time with my family. Recently, I have also been busy planning for my upcoming wedding.
When books are made into movies, there are always great expectations. Sometimes we are thrilled but more times than not we find ourselves thoroughly disappointed. In your opinion, what is the best/worst movie remake of a novel?
Best: The Kite Runner, Little Women (1994 version), and Gone With the Wind– These are all excellent book to movie translations.
Worst: Peter Pan– The Disney movie is nowhere close to the novel.
Do you have a favorite book or books?
Peter Pan by James Matthew Barrie
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith
Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
As a child, did you ever consider becoming an author and/or a librarian?
I always loved reading and writing. As a kid, I would often dictate my favorite stories. I went to school for early childhood education but did not consider becoming a librarian until after school when I was exposed to the profession and decided to give it a try.
Most students and staff at NAI are not aware that you are an author. Can you please tell us a little bit about your three novels? Are you currently working on any other novels?
My novels are geared towards young adults. My first two novels, Always Kiss Me Goodnight and Never Kiss and Tell, are of the paranormal genre. My latest novel, Sugar Lump, falls under the contemporary genre. No matter the genre, all of my books have a mysterious element to them. I definitely feel that my reading tastes reflect my writing tastes. If I am reading several paranormal novels, my writing tends to take the same style. Right now, I am working on a novel that is a modern retelling of The Little Mermaid and is currently with my editor.
The writing process can be very frustrating. If you are experiencing a writer’s block, what do you do to relax?
I feel that it is always beneficial to take a break. In my freetime, I often enjoy taking pictures of nature, going on road trips, and spending time with my nephews and dogs. Although some people advise to just push through a writer’s block and continue writing, you do not want your writing to become forced. I find it helpful to read books that are of the same genre that I am currently writing to give me inspiration. Often times, if I talk myself into taking a few days off, I suddenly come up with several ideas of where to next take the story.
Do you have any advice for aspiring authors here at NAI?
The best thing to do is keep writing. If you keep writing, your work will continue to get better and better. I also recommend reading what you want to write to provide you with ideas and inspiration for you own writing.
Do you communicate with any other authors? If so, have they given you any tips or tricks for writing?
Collaboration and sharing ideas with other writers is an extremely important part of the writing process. I met two other authors, Kathryn Berla and Lindsay Ouimet, in an online writing community with whom I trade tips and advice. One of the most important things I have learned as an author is to focus on you and not compare yourself to other writers. It is also a good idea to never look at reviews of your own books. If you happen to, do not worry about what other people say. Even the best authors receive harsh comments and criticism.
When books are made into movies, there are always great expectations. Sometimes the movie is amazing but more times than not we find ourselves thoroughly disappointed. In your opinion, what is the best and worst movie remake of a novel?
Best: The Vampire Academy-The first book in this series was made into a movie. Although it was not well received, it is the most accurately portrayed movie that I have seen.
Worst: My Sister’s Keeper-They completely changed the ending which ruined the whole movie.
Do you have a favorite book or books?
Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson
I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson