Friday, January 11, 2013

Ask the Librarian - Kate Stifter

We've been featuring a regular series of interviews with our fun and amazing library staff!

Meet Kate...children's librarian at the O'Neill branch and one of the people who make our Cambridge libraries extraordinary places.

What made you want to become a librarian and what do you love most about your job? Growing up, I always wanted to be a librarian. I love books!

How has technology changed your job? What is your opinion on e-books like the Kindle? I love the fact that the library offers downloadable e-books and MP3 books--it’s another way for patrons to access our collection. I have a kindle myself and use it frequently. I use the library’s service, Overdrive, to stock up on books for vacation. It has certainly cut down on my luggage weight!

What’s unique about being a librarian at the O’Neill branch? At the O’Neill Branch, we are attached to the Peabody Elementary School and the Rindge Ave Upper School. This gives us great opportunities to collaborate with teachers and librarians at the school. The fact that children can access the library from the school without going outside is helpful, especially on those cold or rainy days.

What is the funniest thing that has ever happened to you in your role as a librarian? One afternoon, soon after starting work at the O’Neill Branch, I was sitting at a table with some middle school students who had come to the library to hang out after school. Our conversation may have been a little louder than “library voices” and I was surprised to hear a forceful “SHHHHHH” from the librarian at the front desk!

What is something that people may find surprising about your role as a librarian? Patrons are always surprised to hear that I have not read all (or even most of) the “classics.” When I am constantly surrounded by a plethora of the newest books, it makes it hard to go back and read those things I've missed.

Tell us about a situation you were part of or witnessed at the library that has stuck with you over time. A few years ago, we received a grant to offer a storytelling workshop after school. In the beginning, the young participants were apprehensive about the prospect of sharing their personal stories. The workshop was taught by a fabulous professional storyteller, Lani Peterson, whose examples and instruction inspired the children. The storytelling performance at the end of the workshop was a great success!

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