Humans of Libraryland: Miss Jenn

Welcome to the second edition of Humans of Libraryland, where I tell you all the juicy details about the folks who staff your local library! This week we're talking with a wicked cool mountain climber (she even summited Mt Denali last year!) who is also very talented and famous children's librarian.

You know her; you love her! Miss Jenn from Redmond and Carnation!


The Basics:

Name: Miss Jenn

Position: Children’s Librarian

How long have you been in your current position? 12 years

How long have you worked for KCLS? 13 years

What are your job duties in a single sentence?

I design, develop, and implement services to meet the cultural, educational, social and informational needs of children, their parents, caregivers, and educators in our community.

The Deets:

What is your favorite book? Why?

I learned to read with Frog and Toad by Arnold Lobel so this will always have a special place in my heart. Frog and Toad Together is my favorite. When Toad’s list blows away, when Frog teaches Toad to garden, and when Frog and Toad learn the importance of will power…these are timeless stories that you can never forget.

Are you Team Book or Team eBook?

Both!  Books for the home and eBooks for the airplane.

In which Hogwarts house would the Sorting Hat place you?

Ravenclaw. Go Eagles!

What is something you’ve learned in the last week?

One of the things I love about my job is that I get to learn from everyone. In the last hour alone, I talked to a woman from Elmira, NY who taught me all about Mark Twain’s wife, writing studio and grave-site. I talked to a family from Prague about the beauty of their city and what I should do if I visit there. I talked to a man who explained Olympic wrestling and Judo and the difference between the two sports. You really never know what you will learn at the library.

What’s the last book, movie, or TV show that made you cry?

"60 Meters to Anywhere" by Brendan Leonard. I follow Brendan’s blog Semi-Rad.comopens a new window which is usually laugh-out-loud funny. His newest book is a memoir about his coming of age through alcoholism and climbing. It’s a painfully honest book that has surprised me in its’ depth.

Where do you most want to travel, but have never been? Why do you want to go there?

Right now I’m looking at the Chadar Trek up the Zanskar River in the Ladakh region of Northern India. The Chadar trek is the traditional winter trade route of the Zanskar Valley that travels a frozen river but I’m not sure how much longer I have to get there. The government has put in a road and with global climate crisis, the river no longer freezes over some years. The changes in that part of the world are dramatic and the traditional ways of life are changing.

I would also love to go ice climbing in the West fjords of Iceland. I would like to ride a motor bike around India and Morocco. I would like to see Northern China. Egypt is on the list as are the Dolomites of Italy. There is so much to see!

If money was no object, what would you do all day long?

I don’t know if I would do much that was different, really. I would probably still work as a Children’s Librarian. I would climb and hike and run and bike and write and read like I do now. I suppose I would do more climbing and hiking and running and biking and writing and reading. I would do more traveling, for sure. I guess the problem is really not that I want to work less (I love my job!) I just need more hours in a day because I have so many interests and hobbies and so many things I want to learn. I sometimes think I just need three of me to do all the things I want to do in a day! Or I need three more lifetimes to do everything in!

What song best describes you?

Pete Seeger: "How Can I Keep From Singing"opens a new window (Track 14)

When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?

An archeologist or paleontologist (but what kid doesn’t want to dig in the dirt and find mysteries from the past).

If you could witness any event past, present or future, what would it be? Why?

I would have liked to have seen the eruption of Eyjafjallajökullopens a new window but maybe it will erupt again (or some other volcano in Iceland) and I will get to see it! I’m hopeful.

What’s your favorite thing about your job?

I like designing creative programs where kids get to sing, dance, imagine, and laugh but in my heart what I really love is the higher calling of being a librarian. I love the power of story, be it fiction, non-fiction or folktale and how libraries are these symbolic places where stories of all types sit side by side on shelves, where people create and tell their stories on our public computers in resumes, Facebook, email, etc., where children learn to experience story for the first time in story times and picture books. In my heart, I’m an advocate for social justice and being a librarian is all about social justice, community, and democracy.

We here in Redmond know you're an avid climber. Where have you been climbing recently?

Well, if you know me, you know that when I’m not at the library, I’m in the mountains. This summer, I’ve climbed in the Enchantments, Washington Pass, The North Cascades, Mt Hood, Mt Shuksan, Snoqualmie Pass, Index, Leavenworth and Squamish. I’m headed to the Grand Tetons for a climbing trip in a few weeks.


Thanks again, Jenn! You're awesome!

Do you have any burning questions for your library staff? Let me know in the comments!