Librarian Role Model: Amy Koester

As I grow as a librarian I find myself looking up to other librarians – either at my own work or within the larger library world. When I first started working in public libraries, I was part of the Youth Services department. I learned so much that shaped my practices and philosophy of librarianship today.

Today’s librarian role model is – Amy Koester.


I discovered Amy Koester while looking for easy and fun STEM program ideas. Her blog, The Show Me Librarian, is a wonderful resource for program ideas and she thoroughly explains larger library initiatives. I keep finding myself coming back to her blog, webinars, and presentations as I look for ideas. Her enthusiasm is inspiring!

solar system

A few years ago, she posted about the Reading Spa. It sounded like a heavenly experience and I loved her insights into reader’s advisory gleamed from the reading spa experience – readers often don’t know what kind of reader they are, quality reader’s advisory takes time, and one staffer cannot be an expert on every genre/format. While libraries today are often #morethanbooks, stories are still a main force that drives librarianship.



WOAH winter

Opportunities abound and I’ve had to roll up my sleeves to prepare for some hard work, professionally and personally. I’ve also started cultivating a meditation and mindfulness practice to help me make the most of my days.

woah winter

Favorite Reads of 2017 According to Me

This year has flown by and I completely surprised myself by surpassing my GoodReads reading challenge. Here are my top 7 favorites of this year, because I had a hard time whittling it down to just 5.

fav 2017

7. The Animators

I loved these characters, their gritty natures and their relationship. I related to Mel and Sharon’s struggle of growing up and dealing with the past.

6. You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me

This memoir was the perfect blend of humor, sadness, remembering, poetry, sharing,  struggle, and love. We can love people in different ways which is frustrating, but honest and our family is sometimes the hardest to love. I wholeheartedly recommend listening to the audiobook version if you have the chance!

5. Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body by Roxane Gay

I revel in reading Gay’s words or listening to her speak. I’m grateful for her honesty and want to support her as a reader.

4. My Favorite Thing is Monsters Vol. 1 by Emil Ferris

This graphic novel was like nothing I had read before. I loved this story and the story behind its creation.

3. Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur

This was the year I read more poetry and I am so glad I did. Kaur sparked a curiosity in me to find more pure poetry books, rather than the off-handed poems or novels in verse I was reading previously.

2. Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman

Ack, my heart! This story was funny and sad and flawed, a unique blend of elements which I treasure in stories.

1. A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara

little life

So this is technically a 2015 title, but it rocked my reading world this year. I started listening to the audiobook in early 2017 and gave up because this book starts off slow and I kept getting the characters confused while I focused on my commute. My friend kept raving about it, so I gave it another go, but this time in a printed format. Yes it is slow and long, but every scene has to be there for the reader to connect so strongly with these characters. Stories I read after this book, just didn’t compare.

Eye Candy: Lilli Carré

heads or tails

I discovered Lilli Carré through her graphic novel, Heads or Tails. Her simple, stylized illustrations were a perfect complement to the eerie and intriguing short story collection.

nyt yorker

Her designs always convey tone and message clearly, yet they remain concise. Her website showcases her various illustrations for the New Yorker and New York Times op-ed pieces.

lille carre

My favorite of her illustrations is the one above. It’s the design for a puzzle created to celebrate Chicago Independent Bookstore Day. Shoppers received the beginnings of the puzzle after spending $30+ dollars. They had a little less than a month to collect the rest of the pieces at the other bookstores.


Professional Growth


I recently found out I’m going to be a part of the Public Library Association’s Digital Literacy Committee! I’m very excited, but also a tad bit nervous since this is my first professional committee experience. My first lesson was to update my LinkedIn. I never saw the importance of maintaining my profile since I haven’t been looking for a job for quite a while, but I’ve quickly realized its value as a networking tool.

I’ve noticed a huge need for digital literacy within various library audiences. As patrons apply for jobs, proficiency in navigating computers and Microsoft Office software is necessary. As the Internet facilitates information overload, it’s essential for all citizens to be able to critically analyze sources and suss out credibility. As children start getting ready for schools, technology becomes a part of school readiness.

There are active ways to teach digital literacy skills either through presenting classes or providing resources. But one thing I’ve noticed is equally important is a more passive approach. Have stations out for patrons to play with – play is an integral part to learning. At my library we have children’s iPad stations and AWE stations. We often get questions from parent patrons on why we have technology in the children’s area. Instead of simply having signage in place with the names of the apps, I included a description that explains how the app can help build their child’s early literacy skills. If your library allows it, place resources around this area to help patrons learn how to use media mindfully.

Through meeting the group online I’ve found out about larger digital literacy initiatives such as the National Digital Inclusion Alliance and digital initiatives through broadband companies (Comcast, IBM, etc.). Net Neutrality is being threatened by the current administration – how are our patron’s access to the internet going to be affected? We are meeting at ALA midwinter for the first time and I am earnestly anticipating what we are going to talk about. I’ve definitely created some new neural connections and I can’t wait to see how this opportunity unfolds.


Instaread: The Butcher’s Hook


I’m not usually a fan of historical fiction, but this book was quite different. I found myself a little spooked but more amused by Anne Jacobs, a dichotomous feeling which is always fun to find in a character.

The descriptive diction reminded me a little bit of Pond by Claire Louise-Bennett, as well as, the two female protagonists who are fiercely independent and somewhat isolated. However it is a loose thread that connects those two stories.