Monday, January 9, 2012

Ask the Librarian - Julie Roche

Julie Roche is one of the Children's Librarians at the Main Library. She has worked at the Cambridge Library for 7 years. She attended Northwestern University for undergraduate studies and then completed her MLS at Simmons .

What made you want to become a librarian, and what do you love most about your job?
In college I studied to be a journalist, but in practice I absolutely did not have the right personality for it. Once I got that figured out, I enrolled in graduate school for Library Science where I had a wonderful professor and mentor, Maggie Bush. Her passion for children’s librarianship really ignited my own. I was so fortunate.

I love many things about my job, but what I love most are the stories—I love telling stories, hearing stories, connecting people to stories--true stories, fictional stories, sad stories, funny stories, stories about faraway places, and the real living stories playing out right in front of me in the library.

How has technology changed your job? What is your opinion on e-books like the Kindle?
Technology has changed everything. Mostly it speeds things up. We can access information more quickly and remotely. Communication is instant and far-reaching. Technology is evolving at breakneck speed and offers so much potential—figuring out what's next and how best to use it is the tricky part! It can also be a lot of fun. Our Children’s Room gerbils have a presence on Facebook. An author can visit and have a conversation with kids about books via Skype.

E-books offer a lot of convenience. I like them the same way I like a paperback book—easier to carry around, mark up, and dispose of. But as a Children’s Librarian who gets to work with and share gorgeously designed and illustrated books, I also really love the book as a three-dimensional, tangible object—as a work of art. Some texts will work best as e-books, and others will work best in a traditional book form; it will depend on their content and their purpose.

Are you in a book club? If so, how does your group select the books?
I facilitate three book discussion groups here at the library for kids and their parents. I bring a sampling of books to our meetings, and the members choose the next selection by anonymous vote. I am also personally in a book club, but we are not so organized about how we choose books...

Tell us about a situation you were part of or one that you witnessed at the library that has stuck with you over time.
Back when the final Harry Potter book was released, we had a sleepover for a group of kids at the library. Copies of that long-awaited final installment appeared at the end of a midnight scavenger hunt. What has stuck with me over time is this image of those kids all draped about the Children’s Room still obsessively reading at four in the morning. Reading is powerful stuff.

There are always great things happening at the library! For more information on how you can get involved with the Friends of the Cambridge Public Library click here.

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