Monday, August 5, 2013

Keeper of Wonder: Interview with Julia Hendon

Today's Keeper of Wonder is Julia Hendon, or @fangirlibrarian over on Twitter. Julia is a fellow bookish Alabamian! Yes! We do exist. In droves actually. I'm so happy to introduce her on the blog!

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

I became a librarian by accident.  My first semester of college I was required to complete 30 hours of community services for a Sociology class and I chose my local public library.  When I completed my time there I filled out a job application and was called for an interview two months later.  I worked part-time through college, mostly nights and weekends. I decided my senior year of college that I didn't want to be a teacher, but a librarian instead.  After college I moved into a full-time job at the same branch and began an online program through Florida State University for my MLIS.  I was hired as a Youth Services Librarian at another branch in my library system the following March with the understanding I would complete my masters (I did last December!). (Congratulations!) I have been in my current position a little over two years.

Tell us about your library?

I work in the Bailey Cove Branch Library and the Main Library.  They are part for the Huntsville-Madison County Public Library System which is made up of twelve locations.  The Bailey Cove Library is a community library that offers approximately 50,000 items for check out, public access computers, and a variety of programs for all ages.  I work primarily with tweens and teens.  We have an active Teen Advisory Group, book club, and teen volunteer program.  The Main Library is the central library of our system and located in downtown Huntsville.  My job there is in the Extension and Outreach Services.  I am part of a group of individuals that travels into the local school system for monthly story times and to deliver book deposits. 

What was the most recent book request?

The most recent book request I received was for Midnight Pearls by Debbie Viguie.  It is a retelling of The Little Mermaid and part of the Once Upon a Time book series, which my teens are big fans of.  The teen who requested it writes for a blog that reviews mermaid books and she relies on the library a lot so she does not have to buy so many of them. 

What was your most recent book suggestion to a patron?

The most recent book I suggested to a patron was The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater.  It was our book club selection for last month and one of my favorite books of the past year! (Two in a row now have listed this book. I've read the Scorpio Races but not this one. Must fix that!)

What was your most recent book suggestion to a friend?

The most recent book I suggested to a friend was Attachments by Rainbow Rowell.  I went to a Leakycon this year and she was part of the author panel so I read everything I could by her.  I adored this book when I read it and recommended it to my friend who liked early Meg Cabot adult books and the Bridget Jones series.

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

Meg Cabot.  I have admired Meg Cabot's work for years.  She was one of the few non-fantasy authors I read in high school and she really showed me that books can be funny, sassy, and just make you feel wonderful.  She is really someone I admire and often recommend to library patrons.

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

I don't have a specific book in mind, but I wish I could purchase more books by international authors.  I attended a library conference last year and heard a presentation on Australian YA Lit that was amazing.  My co-worker and I left and began quickly looking up if we could order any of the titles in the States, with little to no luck.  Although I love many U.S. authors, I really enjoy seeing other points of view from around the world.  In my personal library I would want a first printing of Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen.  I already own four copies of it, but my earliest version is from 1903. 

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

I think the biggest librarian stereotype is how quiet and reserved librarians are.  That is definitely not the type of librarian I am.  During story times I often challenge the children to see if they can sing the ABCs louder than I can and have been shh'ed many times during teen programs by other patrons.  I don't think of librarians as the enforcers of order and quite but more of the instigators of fun and discussion.

Five favorite books of the past five years.

I am assuming you mean published in the last five years and not read because those list to vary a lot.  Abandon by Meg Cabot,Ready Player One by Ernest Cline, The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater, Beauty Queens by Libba Bray, and Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns) by Mindy Kaling

Thanks again Julia for stopping by!


  1. Love this! Thanks for sharing. I also love how libraries aren't the super-quiet, hush-hush places they were when I was a kid. They're a hub of life and it's so cool.

  2. I lived close to my small-town library when I was growing up and loved going there--and the librarians were always so helpful!

    I love that you love Meg Cabot and her funny, sassy writing. I really enjoy reading books with some humor in them.

  3. I like that she became a librarian by accident! =)

  4. Great interview. I enjoyed hearing about the recommendations she gives and the requests she receives. Love that there's a teen out there who reviews mermaid books. Who woulda thunk?!

  5. Cool! I live in N.AL, too!. Great interview.


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