Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Ontario Library Week: Interview with KFPL Librarian Kimberly

Today I have the honour of hosting one of the librarians from my local library! Kimberly from Kingston Frontenac Public Library (KFPL) was gracious enough to let me interview her for my Library Week Feature and I am super excited to share it with you and some of the amazing events they have coming up. Also, I will be doing a little recap about some of the amazing services, events and more that KFPL offers.

A BIG THANK YOU to Kim for being a part of this feature!

Why did you become a librarian?
According to my mother, I chose this career when I was very young. Inspired by my love of storytime at the Middlesex County Public Library, I declared at the age of four that I was going to be a “libarian” when I grew up. When I graduated from university, I knew I wanted to work with children in some sort of educational setting, and I applied to masters programs in both Museum Studies (U of Toronto) and Library and Information Science (Western). Western offered me a spot, and U of T had me on the waitlist, so the decision made itself in a way. Over the years, I’ve become an even more passionate advocate of both public libraries and reading.

How did you begin your career within the library?
When I graduated from my master’s program, Ontario was in a recession. I worked in downtown Toronto on two short term contract positions, one in a legal library and another for a nonprofit that taught composting and recycling to new Canadians. Following that, I covered a maternity leave in the children’s department at the Halton Hills Public Library before finally landing a full time position in British Columbia as a children’s librarian. I was able to come ‘home’ to Ontario when joined KFPL in late 2000.

How does your current role (Manager – Programming and Outreach) in the KFPL system differ from your previous one (Children's Librarian)? Can you explain a little about each position?
As KFPL’s children’s librarian, I helped to coordinate programs and services for children and teens throughout the library system. I developed and offered programs to children of all ages - storytimes, puppet shows, theatre workshops, summer reading clubs, etc. I also worked with one of our Teen Advisory Groups and the Teen Review Board, and I was responsible for selecting the library’s collections for these age groups – books, movies, magazines, and music. As Manager – Programming and Outreach, more of my work is at an organizational and advisory level. Our team is developing programs for all ages, with a particular focus on expanding our offerings for adults, and we are working to create new partnerships within the community.

What is your favourite part about working in the public library system?
Public libraries provide free access to all members of the community, and our collections cover a wide range of thoughts and opinions. It doesn’t matter who you are - you know that you’ll be welcome at the library, that your privacy will be respected, and that you’ll be free to read whatever you choose. This makes me incredibly proud to be part of this profession, and I know that pride is shared by other library staff.

Do you have any recommendations to those looking at a career in the public library sector? (Courses to take, ways to gain experience, etc).
There are many options for those interested in libraries. We employ librarians and library technicians, who pursued post-secondary education specific to library work. Our systems support team studied computer science. We have a graphic designer who creates all of our publicity materials. The staff you see most often in our branches bring all sorts of knowledge and experience with them – we have teachers, social workers, scientists, authors, poets.

If someone were particularly interested in becoming a professional librarian, they should check out the masters programs available across Canada. I’d also recommend browsing the websites of some of the major library associations to learn more about current issues - the Ontario Library Association and American Library Association are among the most active. New graduates would do well to join an association and get involved in their work – it’s a good way to learn more about the profession and make connections.

If you were stuck on a deserted island and could only have five books with you, which ones would you choose?
* The Worst-Case Scenario Survival Handbook by Joshua Piven – it might come in handy!
* A collection of Perrault’sfairytales with beautiful illustrations – stories that can stand the test of time and repeated re-readings.
* Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell - Scarlett’s perseverance to survive against all odds, no matter what anyone may think of her, would be inspiring.
* My two favourite childhood books - Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare and Little Housein the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder – for the comfort factor.

Being surrounded by so many books, how do you resist taking them all home with you?
To be honest, I don’t! I have a big basket on my living room floor that is usually overflowing with library books. Cookbooks, new novels, travel guides, young adult bestsellers, histories. I have to keep a pretty watchful eye on my due dates.

Did your love for books grow from being a librarian or did your love for being a librarian grow from your love of books?
Definitely the latter. When I was a girl, my mother would get frustrated by my constant reading and tell me to go play outside. Usually, I’d just take my book and sit under the tree in the backyard.

Do you prefer hardback, paperback, audiobooks or ebooks? Why?
I don’t have an e-reader yet, though I’m sure the time will come. I’m still waffling between technology choices. I love audiobooks for traveling. My entire family, husband and kids, have been spellbound by Kenneth Oppel’s Airborn series or the Artemis Fowl books. By far, I spend most of my reading time with a print book in my hands. Part of it is the comfort of curling up with a good book, and part of it is that there are just so many more books to choose from in print. If there’s something I really want to read, I’ll take it in any format I can get.

What are some of your favourite events or programs that KFPL organizes/has organized?

The Kingston Frontenacs READ project is one of my favourites. Role models that encourage reading are important for children, and hockey is a passion of mine. I approached the Frontenacs two years ago, told them about the READ posters done by the American Library Association with celebrities and suggested that we team up to make our own. They suggested that we go a step farther, and set aside a day to celebrate KFPL at a game. We’ll be partnering for our third season this year. Our photo shoot is coming up in early December, so watch for the latest READ posters in the new year, and plan to come out on February 10 for KFPL day at the K-Rock Centre!
Story Me is a brand new program, just launched during Culture Days. We’re collecting memories of everyday Kingston-Frontenac residents to share with future generations, working toward the Canada 150 celebrations.. Highlights of the images and recordings we’ve gathered so far can be found at http://kfplstoryme.wordpress.com/. If your readers have stories they’d like to share, we’d love to hear them.

We’ve also launched Turning the Page, a program for book-lovers. Librarians will share new titles, hidden gems and personal favourites on a different theme each month. Mysteries will be the focus for October, and winter cookbooks for November. Our September program featured new fall releases, and you can see Alice’s recommendations at www.kfpl.ca/pinterest.

What an amazing interview and so many great happenings at my local library. I just thought I'd write about one more that I found on their site that I am extremely excited about. The "SEVEN" Author Gala is stopping by the main branch in Kingston and I'm thrilled to see such events happening here. 
Wednesday, October 24
7 - 8:30 p.m.
KFPL is delighted to announce a very special event featuring Eric Walters, Shane Peacock, Richard Scrimger, Sigmund Brouwer, John Wilson and Ted Staunton.
Celebrating the launch of their new children’s novel series, Seven, the authors are visiting only a handful of cities. Children and youth ages ten and up, along with their families, are invited to help them celebrate in style at the Seven Author Gala at our Central Library.
Beginning at 7 p.m., the authors will each regale the crowd with stories about their lives as writers and with teasers from their new novels. Afterward, children will be able to mingle with the authors, enjoying refreshments and collecting autographs. Local bookstore The Novel Idea will be on hand to sell copies of the authors’ books.
Space is limited, so registration is required and opens on Saturday, October 13. Register by phone, in person or at http://events.kfpl.ca.

Some other amazing things about my local library system include:
-16 branches make up the KFPL system (they are all linked together and you can have books ready for pickup at any of the locations)
-they have an awesome online system where you can download e-books and audiobooks 
-they have an entire part of their website dedicated to TEENS!
-email subscription to Next Reads Newsletters where they email you about the genres you are interested in and send you recommendations of books to try
-Book Club Sets of books where they have enough copies of a book for you to use for your book club
-Art Exhibitions monthly at Central Branch
-tons of Children's, Teen and Adult Programs to choose from - you can sign up at any time for them

I love my local library and hope that this weeks Library Series helps more people get back to their libraries to enjoy everything they have to offer!

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