Monday, August 26, 2013

KEEPER OF WONDER: An Interview with Vicki Lemp Weavil

Today on the blog, I'm pleased to introduce Vicki Lemp Weavil. Not only is Vicki a librarian at the North Carolina School for the Arts, but she is also a writer (her 2014 debut novel, CROWN OF ICE, a YA Fantasy retelling of H.C. Andersen's "The Snow Queen" is coming out from Month9Books). She tweets @VickiLWeavil

The best part for me is a fictional version of NCSA plays a significant role in my forthcoming novel. Vicki sent me loads of information about their admission process which was a huge help! 

I'm getting help from my librarian interviewees! Love it.

Here's Vicki:

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

I actually became a librarian after working for ten years in other jobs. I originally graduated from the University of Virginia with a B.A. in Theatre. I specialized in costume design and construction, and some of my jobs after college did involve costuming, but I also worked as a picture framer, waitress (of course!), and part-time teacher. I even made a little money singing. When my then husband went to graduate school at Indiana University, I decided that I needed to get some type of graduate degree as well (since my theatre degree wasn't exactly bringing in lucrative jobs). After investigating several careers, I decided to follow my first love -- books and reading -- and go to Library School. I.U. gave me a wonderful assistantship and scholarship and thus my library career was born! 

The funny thing is, my theatre, music, and design background has actually benefited me in my career. My first library job was with the NYPL at Lincoln Center. I then worked for the Museum of TV and Radio in NYC before moving to my present position as Director of Library Services at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts (UNCSA). (sounds like UNCSA is lucky to have you!)

Tell us about your library?

The Semans Library at UNCSA serves a high school as well as a university, so we have quite an age range in our patron base. Our focus is on the performing and visual arts, but we collect in all subject areas in order to serve the needs of our students and faculty. We do have very extensive collections in music, theatre, film, dance, art, and theatrical/film design. Since we have high school students as well as undergraduate and graduate students, we do collect YA fiction as well as adult fiction.

What was the most recent book request?

A faculty member requested that we acquire an older book, Political Theatre: A History 1914-29 by Edwin Piscator. 

What was your most recent book suggestion to a patron?

I actually don't do this, as my reference librarians handle these interactions. (This is the problem with becoming an administrator -- you don't often get to work directly with the patrons).

What was your most recent book suggestion to a friend?

Little, Big by John Crowley (They wanted a "unique" speculative fiction book).
I also like to recommend Dorothy Dunnett's 6 book series, The Lymond Chronicles to -- well, basically, anyone.

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

I assume you mean a living author? <smile> I do love the classics. For a more current author, I think it would have to be Suzanne Collins. Not only to talk about The Hunger Games trilogy, but also because she's had a long career writing excellent books (MG as well as YA) and has also written for television. I would love to discuss how she built and sustained her career long before becoming an "overnight success." (I agree, that would be a great chat)

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

In YA -- more books about young women who are strong and independent and focused more on exploring their opportunities and/or building their own lives rather than just romance. (Don't get me wrong, I have nothing against romance. I just think it often overwhelms all other topics, issues, and ideas in much of YA literature these days).

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

That we are quiet, retiring types who shun human interaction. Nothing could be further from the truth! These days, librarians must constantly interact with patrons and other library constituents -- both in person and online. There's not much room for the very shy or introverted in this profession any more! 
I don't actually fit that stereotype. I don't need constant social stimulation and I'm self-directed (I'm also an author, after all) but I am quite comfortable with public speaking, social interaction, and leading meetings and work groups.

Five favorite books of the past five years.

Oh my -- you ask a reading addict this?? Let's see -- 
Not saying these are all my favorites, and in no particular order:

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
Tigerlily's Orchids by Ruth Rendell
The Beginner's Goodbye by Anne Tyler
In the Woods by Tana French (read this over the summer, loved it)
The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters (this one's on my night stand! just started it!)

Thanks so much for stopping by to talk to us, Vicki!


  1. I just picked up a copy of In the Woods--yay! Nice to get to know you a but better Vicki! Susanne Collins would make an excellent lunch date, I think!

  2. Ooh, yes! I'd love to have lunch w/Susanne Collins. And I've never heard of the Lymond Chronicles- must go Goodreads it! =)

  3. Another great interview. Thanks ladies!

  4. I love these interviews. And I'm always fascinated when someone is asked to name their favorite books.


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