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Salutations! My name is Leane Ellis. I am the Readers’ Advisory/Reference Librarian for the Lucius Beebe Memorial Library in Wakefield. Nanci Mil0ne Hill and I began this Round Table in September 2008 with the help of Shelley Quezada, Jan Resnick and Mary Behrle. It has been one of the most rewarding experiences both professionally and personally. I look forward to learning a great deal from all of you, as well as sharing some of my RA experiences with you.
I read everything in starts and stops for RA purposes, but my real pleasure reading is Fantasy, Mysteries, and Suspense. I never apologize for reading Romance, especially what I call Vampire Trash…food for all the senses!
Hi all. This is Tricia Arrington, Reference/ILL Librarian at the Peabody Institute Library in Danvers. I read mostly literary and historical fiction, poetry, non-fiction and YA fantasy. I expect to be totally “schooled” during these genre studies. Michelle is doing her best to get me to read more genre fiction, and she’s been pretty much on the mark with her recommendations.
On the nightstand: Anila’s Journey – Mary Finn, The Moor – Laurie R. King, Renewing America’s Food Traditions – Gary Paul Nabhan and Seven Notebooks – Campbell McGrath
Hello All! My name is Tatjana Saccio and I am a Reference Librarian at the Nevins Memorial Library in Methuen. I am very excited to be part of this RA Roundtable. I have always enjoyed discussing and recommending books for patrons and friends, and now I will be learning to do it in a more well-rounded way. My taste in books sometimes seems all over the place…I most enjoy reading mysteries, travel books, cookbooks, fiction about women leaving their jobs and going abroad (that was mostly when I worked at the Saugus Public Library…), and juvenile/YA books. Although, now I am delving into Science Fiction, Fantasy and Graphic Novels. Many more titles and genres to explore!
Hello everyone! My name is Michelle Deschene. I am the Young Adult Librarian at the Peabody Institute Library in Danvers. If one’s reading taste was a map, mine would have so many scattered pins. I love genre fiction: fantasy, mystery, and all the rest. I inhale YA fiction. And non-fiction–I’m a recent convert, reading extensively about whatever subject has snagged my attention. Oh, and one more thing: Superheroes; don’t get me started on them, because I won’t ever stop talking.
Hi! My name is Nanci Milone Hill. I am the Director at the M.G. Parker Memorial Library in Dracut, MA. I am the author of “Reading Women: a Book Group Guide for Women’s Fiction.” For several years, I wrote the Christian Fiction column for Library Journal. I also write Author Read-Alikes and feature articles for NoveList. My favorite genres are Women’s Fiction and Romance (particularly Paranormal Romance), Mystery (particularly Culinary Mysteries) and Literary Fiction. I am not really much of a Nonfiction reader, but can enjoy a Nonfiction book that reads like fiction (such as Devil in the White City, Under the Tuscan Sun, or Son of a Drifter). I do enjoy True Crime as well.
Readers’ Advisory is one of my favorite library services. I find so much joy in matching the right book to the right reader, at the right time.
Hi, I’m Shelley Quezada. I work at the MBLC and oversee the Readers Advisory grants as well as work on Outreach Services, Literacy, Teens and Tweens and Children’s Programs like Mother Goose on the Loose. I am an avid reader of Mysteries and Historical Fiction, love Children’s and YA Fantasy and recently have been reading a lot more Non Fiction.
Hi All. I’m Sarah Woo, the librarian at Holten-Richmond Middle School in Danvers. Thanks to Michelle for letting me know about this great group and to Leane for having me be part of it. I’ve been to one meeting and am loving it already. I read mostly for YAs right now – all genres so I can keep up with the avid readers and encourage the not-so-avid ones. Love YA fantasy and, lately, some of the sci fi. Adult reading: have just read for work and enjoyed: Outliers (Gladwell); Drive (Pink); and The Genius in All of Us (Shenk). Outliers may be the most readable. Drive is inspiring and easy to think about putting into practice. Genius is very well researched, fascinating, and my favorite of the three. Right now my favorite “grown up” fiction is the Gabaldon’s Outlander series – the history, the love story, the time travel – I love it all.
I am Susanne Sullivan, Assistant Director at the Burlington Public Library. I get dismayingly few Readers’ Advisory questions or requests on my weekly stint at the reference desk, and so devote a lot of my enthusiasm for the wide variety of books out there to in-house book displays. I LOVE it when books I put in an eye-catching display go flying off the shelf, and am always dismayed when an occasional display proves a ‘dud.’ The more I know about genre fiction, the better my displays will be. Also, I collect books weekly for our home-bound patrons, and have been compelled to learn a lot about types of books I rarely read (cozy mysteries, for example) in order to serve them better.
I read a LOT myself — way more than my family sometimes likes. I’ve always liked fantasy, the bigger and more involved the world-building the better. Have thoroughly enjoyed Sara Monette’s Melusine series, and Jacqueline Carey’s Kushiel books. I made myself begin reading romances a couple of years ago after sneering at them for a long time, and discovered I quite liked some! I’ll read anything by Liz Carlyle, for example. Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series led me to more historical fiction. TV or film will sometimes push me to find the book behind the story: I’d never have read Charlaine Harris if it weren’t for the debut of True Blood on HBO, and I utterly missed Jeff Lindsay’s Darkly Dreaming Dexter until after I caught the first episode of Showtime’s Dexter. (In fact, my newest display is called ‘Reel books: don’t judge a book by its movie.’)When I discover an author I like I tend to want to read everything they’ve written: Kaye Gibbons and Barbara Kingsolver were early infatuations. I’ll read mysteries but only if they have strong and interesting characters: I’m much more interested in the humans than the puzzle.
Right now I’m listening to Stieg Larsson’s Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and have Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norell beside my bed.
I’m Jan Resnick, former Assistant Regional Administrator for the former Western Region. I went to my first PLA (Pittsburg) because of a Readers’ Advisory (RA) Preconference. RA has always been an interest and has almost turned into a mission ever since I first met Duncan Smith. I really feel that RA is one of our key ways to connect with users and to offer a niche service that no one else provides. I read lots of mysteries and belong to a mystery book group at a local independent book store. This group makes me read titles I wouldn’t normally pick up. I read primarily for character and read a lot of genre fiction. I’m not a big fan of literary fiction since I’m not really sure what that is. I read a lot of science fiction, primarily space opera – character again – and romance in many of the subgenres. I administered a 3-year RA grant to enable very small libraries to participate in Readers’ Advisory training. Through the grant we were able to beef up our professional collection and bring in outside talent like Leane Ellis, Sarah Johnson, Diana Tixier Herald, Neal Wyatt and Joyce Saricks.
In 2012 I was appointed to the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners for a 5-year term. I am also serving a three year term as the Fiction Convener for the Massachusetts Book Awards administered by the Massachusetts Center for the Book. I am getting a chance to read and evaluate some fantastic fiction written by Massachusetts authors or books with Massachusetts settings.
Hi! My name is Becky Rowlands. I’m the Head of Circulation & Adult Services at the Topsfield Town Library in Topsfield. Before coming to work in the library I worked for a few years in bookstores, the last year managing the Book Rack in Newburyport. I was fond of describing my job as “giving 30 mini-book reports a day,” trying to match the right book with the right person. I have been really enjoying the RA Roundtable discussions. My favorite reads are feminist/female-centered fiction, “literary fiction,” dystopian sci-fi and memoirs. I don’t read as much non-fiction, but I recently finished Street Gang: the Complete History of Sesame Street by Michael Davis and loved it.
Hello, my name is Eileen Barrett. As a Reference Librarian at the Reading Public Library, I am frequently asked for book recommendations, so I am grateful for the Readers’ Advisory group. The group has introduced me to many authors I would otherwise not have read, and has helped me to be a “listener” when guiding reader to books of their interest. My personal reading tends to go through fazes. I love fiction, but sometimes I can only read non-fiction. Non-fiction gives me a better understanding of the world, the environment, the politics, and the wild life – both human and otherwise. When I am in a fiction faze, I tend to read for character. Some of my all-time favorite books are The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley; God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy; The Space Between Us by Thrity Umrigar; Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford; and Life With Its Sorrow, Life With Its Tear by Lester Atwell. I read this last book when I was fou rteen years old, and have since reread it approximately twelve times – and it just might be time to read it again!
Hi everyone, My name is Laura Bernheim and I am the head reference librarian at the Waltham Public Library (as well as the acting YA Librarian). I have really enjoyed the last two meetings of the RA Round Table. In Waltham, we are currently in the midst of spending an LSTA grant about Reader’s Advisory in the Library. We are doing a staff genre study about mysteries, which has not only allowed us to develop some useful skills but has also brought us closer as a staff. I enjoy readers’ advisory very much but really feel I need to improve in that area. I love talking about books and (even more so) listening to other people talk about them. I love to get suggestions from patrons. Right now, I’m reading the YA fantasy novel, Scarlet by Marissa Meyer (the sequel to Cinder). I’m not normally a fantasy reader, actually, but once in awhile a book or series will come along that captivates me!
Hello! My name is Christine Sharbrough and I am the Head of Readers’ Services at the Chelmsford Public Library. I love being able to suss out what a reader likes and matching them with a book that they will (hopefully) love. Readers Advisory is such a great job, you learn a lot about yourself as a reader as well as the patrons in your community. I have found many a good book for myself while talking to people about books that will work for them!
I’m Diane Giarrusso. I’m the Director of the Tewksbury Public Library and joined the RART years ago to further develop my skills and appreciation of all types of fiction. While I don’t perform active RA very often, I love to create a variety of bibliographies and try to do RA as often as I can. I love all kinds of books, and my most favorite is romance (contemporary, military, and suspense specifically). I also like historical of all kinds, poetry, science fiction and mysteries. I don’t care much for and need to be convinced to read “literary” fiction as well as Fantasy fiction. My favorite part of being with this group are the times I’ve been able to make a connections between books while I’m reading them because I’ve learned to pay attention differently when I read. It’s because of what I’ve learned here that I can do that. My second favorite part is all of the awesomesauce that is in the room when we meet!
Hello, my name is Cindy Grove and I am the Reference Librarian at the Tewksbury Public Library. I will read anything, but my go to genres are non-fiction and Christian fiction. As a Reference Librarian I love providing non-fiction reader’s advisory introducing patrons to books that are not only provide insight and information, but are also great reads.
My name is Gerry Deyermond and I am the assistant head of circulation at Memorial Hall Library in Andover. I read mostly fiction with a few non fiction here and there. I prefer crime fiction, my favorite author is Iris Johansen and I enjoy Tess Gerritsen, Robin Cook, and Lisa Gardner. I also read Debbie Macomber, Kate Jacobs, Maggie Sefton, Sheila Connolly, and Jennifer Chiaverini. Christian fiction is not a genre I read and don’t know much about it. I am hoping to become familiar with authors and titles to be able to better help patrons with selections.
Hi! I’m Stefanie Aucoin and I am the Readers’ Services Librarian at the Medfield Memorial Public Library in Medfield. Readers’ Advisory sort of became a passion of mine after I realized that that was what my most favorite part of working in Children’s Services in Waltham. I read widely on my own, mostly in Scifi, Fantasy and Historical Fiction, but am always up for a good suggestion. My favorite authors are Catherynne Valente and Laurie R. King. I love to have conversations about books with my patrons because its part of an adventure that I get to take with my community. While they explore our collection, I get to explore the depth and breadth of readers in the area. I’m very excited to be a part of the Readers’ Advisory Roundtable because it helps me connect better with my patrons and helps me learn about different genres I don’t necessarily read on my own.
Hi I’m Jim Riordan and I’m a Reference Librarian at the Peabody Institute Library in Danvers. I tend to read a lot in Historical Fiction/Nonfiction and YA & Adult SciFi/Fantasy (oh and anything with swords and/or gadgets). Beyond those genras I’m pretty weak in doing RA and hope to change that. I’ve learned a ton in the three meetings I’ve come to so far and look forward to learning a lot more.
Hello, everyone. My name is Jessica Atherton and I work as a Reference Librarian at the Newburyport Public Library. I feel very grateful to this group, since it pushes me to read outside of my comfort zone and provides a lot of useful information and ideas. Since I order the fiction for the library, work with patrons, and run the fiction book group, this information gets put to good use on a regular basis. So, thank you to everyone for working so hard to make this such a great group.
For 25 years I’ve worked in Circulation at the Medfield Library. Never before have I been given such a wonderful opportunity to learn how to help patrons find books that they really want to read. Realizing that RA is not about myself, but about the other person, is so freeing and an about face from they way I thought before about suggesting books. I hope to be able to make it to many more RA meetings and webinars to learn new skills for meeting patrons library needs.
I’m Anna Call, and I’ve been the head of reference at Boxford Town Library for the past two years. In a few weeks, I’ll be moving over to Wilmington Memorial Library to work as that institution’s adult services librarian. Beyond anything else, RA is about connecting with my patrons person to person. Realizing that it’s a two-way interaction, and not just an authority figure moralistically inflicting books upon the unsuspecting public, is a great start to shaping the rest of the entire library’s customer service ethic. It’s also a great way to connect with patrons and earn their respect, which in turn helps me shape programs and collections to the needs of my community.
Hi there fellow librarians. I am Louise Goldstein, the Head of Circulation at the Waltham Public Library. Recommending titles to our users is one of the passions and joys of my position. Leane is, in my opinion, one of the most talented Reader’s Advisory librarians one can find. My experience is that this group helps me to expand my repertoire of options, especially for those whose reading interests in no way parallel my own.