Monday, October 28, 2013

KEEPER OF WONDER: An interview with Amanda-Jane McFadden

Totally adorable photo!

Today I'm happy to welcome another New Zealand librarian, Amanda-Jane McFadden. I stalked Amanda-Jane on Twitter (@amandajanemcf) and fortunately didn't freak her out too terribly bad. Because she agreed to an interview! I can already tell this is going to be great judging by that big red dog hanging out with her on a park bench.

Tell us about your library? (Where, what, anything quirky or cool?) What's your job title and description?

My role is as a Children’s and Teenagers’ librarian at Tauranga City Libraries, Tauranga. A city of 125,000 in the sunny Bay of Plenty of New Zealand. My job includes the collection development of the children and teens collections in our four libraries, and I also plan and run events for teenagers, which is so much fun!
We are really proud of the events we do for all young people and have really successful summer reading programmes; about 450 children and 200 teens do the programmes each year.
Cool things we have with teens have been: Rock Climbing, Ice Cream Party, Library Lock-in, Skyped with Lauren Oliver, a Hunger Games Challenge and I am just planning for this summer ‘Catching Fire’ challenge.
Quirky things … we are children and teenage librarians; we dress up, we sing, we act, we read in funny voices, we think outside the square … we are just ‘awesomely’ funky!  (sounds like an inspiring profession!)

What was the most recent book request? 

As it is the school holidays it has been ‘The Diary of a Wimpy Kid’ series or the ‘Tom Gates’ series. 

What was your most recent book suggestion to a patron?

I love doing Reader Advisory with the teens; and I always recommend to the teens a book written by a New Zealand author. 
Yesterday I recommended ‘The Freedom Merchants’ by Sherryl Jordan. A story set in Ireland and the African Coast; dealing with the ‘white slave trade’. It is a powerful, enthralling and well researched book. (This sounds fantastic!)

What was your most recent book suggestion to a friend? 

The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion (adult fiction)

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

It would be with a Margarita and to talk with Jo Nesbo. How does he write such gripping adult suspense fiction (Headhunters and Redbreast) and then chill out enough to write funny children’s fiction (Doctor Proctor’s Fart Powder series)

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

Ha ha ha… the one I want to write! Lots of ideas in my head but need the time to get them on paper. (Do they have a 5am writers club in NZ? Works for me! - and yes, write! write!)

What factors influence your decision to add a book to your collection?

For me there are many contributing factors; independent reviews of the book, a ‘pick me up cover’, and requests from customers. But the most effective way for me is my ‘gut instinct’.  (I am a big believer in the power of the gut!)

What about you would make us say, “REALLY? But you’re a librarian!” ? 

For a hobby I use to Belly dance. The study has taken over for now… but I love all my sparkling costumes and jewelry so will be heading back to dancing as soon as I can.  :0)

Five favorite books of the past five years

Only Five! I could list many… here are a few:

The Freedom Merchants by Sherryl Jordan
Delirium by Lauren Oliver
Brother/Sister by Sean Olin
Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
The Convent by Maureen McCarthy

Thanks so much for stopping by Amanda-Jane! Now go belly dance off into the sunset :0)

Next week, I'm going to do a review of our librarian's top fives and patron/friend suggestions by genre/age level. In the meantime, if you know a librarian who might like to be interviewed, please direct them to my Keeper of Wonder series!


  1. Rock climbing and a Hunger Games challenge? This sounds like the most fun library ever!

  2. I want to visit this library. (Not to mention New Zealand...)


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