Monday, July 29, 2013

Keeper of Wonder: Interview with Karen Jensen

(And the winners of last week's T-shirt giveaway are Lindsey L., Jen Malone, Vickie Weavil, & Akossiwa Ketoglo! - Emails coming  your way)

I'm so pleased to introduce you to Karen Jensen, one of the staff members at! I've followed Karen on her Twitter account, @tlt16, for a while now and knew I wanted to pick her brain when I came up with the idea for this interview series. Best part is, she said YES! So here we go, ladies and gentlemen, the Keeper of Wonder series, inaugural interview.

So you’re a librarian, how’d that happen?

I have been a teen services librarian for 20 years this year, at 4 different libraries and now in 2 states.  I began working at my local library while in college working on my undergrad degree and just found myself at home.

Tell us about your library?

My current library is a branch of the Grand Prairie Library System in Grand Prairie, Texas.  We serve a diverse community of about 170,000 people.  This is my first time working at a branch and it is a different experience for me because we have a smaller space and budget to work with, which presents unique challenges.  It is a very nice building, built in the last 12 years.

What was the most recent book request?

We are getting a lot of requests for graphic novels from middle grade and teen readers.  And because I have a poster for the N.E.R.D.S. series up on my endcap I get a lot of requests for that.  And of course Divergent by Veronica Roth is really popular right now. 

What was your most recent book suggestion to a patron?

My go to suggestions right now are the Rot & Ruin series by Jonathan Maberry and Hourglass by Myra McEntire, unless my RA interview indicates something else is called for.

What was your most recent book suggestion to a friend?

In addition to the books above, I am telling everyone to read County by 7s by Holly Goldberg Sloan, which comes out in the fall.  It is such an inspiring read, perhaps this year's Wonder.  For older teens I highly recommend Death, Dickinson and the Demented Life of Frenchie Garcia by Jenny Torres Sanchez because she captures the voice of a depressed and scared teenage girl dealing with grief and graduating from high school perfectly.

If you could sit down to your favorite beverage with any current kidlit author, who would it be? And why?

Hands down A. S. King because she is so intelligent and amazing and advocating for a lot of things that I am also concerned about.  She doesn't dumb down her work for teens, but speaks to the heart of who they are and what their experiences are in really creative and meaningful ways. (oooh, me too. I love her writing and she seems so invested in making a difference in the world.)

What book do you wish you had in your library but don’t? (this can be something written or something you’ve never seen)

This is a really hard question because as the person who buys for my collection, I pretty much have what I want and think we should have - except we don't have enough space.  So instead of advocating for a book, I would really advocate for more space so I could have more books.

What’s the biggest librarian stereotype? How do you fit snugly within it? What makes you bust wholly out of it?

The biggest librarian stereotype is probably that we are quiet.  The truth is, if you are incredibly loud and disruptive, I will sometimes shush you.  Ironically, I am a very loud person.  I don't just mean loud in personality, which some people might say I am, but my volume control does not go very low.  And I am very talkative, I do love to tell a good story.

Five favorite books of the past five years.

This may possibly be the hardest question ever. (I know, don't flog me :0)) There are a lot of good books out there, and I read A LOT.  I guess I would say the Rot & Ruin series, Ask the Passengers by A. S. King, Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver, The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate, Raven Boys by Maggie Steifvater and oh - wait, that is five.  Darn.  I had more.

Thanks for stopping by, Karen!


  1. I love a librarian interview! The kids and teens in TX are privileged to have you, Karen.

  2. Some of my best friends are librarians, the real honest to goodness kind replete with degree in Library science. Now DS works in a library also. Bravo, Library People!

  3. Such a fun interview! A few books to add to my TBR list too :) And who doesn't want more space for books ;)

  4. What an intriguing interview. I always love to hear things from the librarians perspective because they really are there when kids are checking books out and asking about books. Thanks for sharing!

  5. Fun interview! A job in a library must be super fun. I love Raven Boys too, but The Scorpio Races is my fave Stiefvater.

  6. Libraries are such great places- and librarians too! =)


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