Monday, October 7, 2013

KEEPER OF WONDER: An Interview With Julia Elizabeth DeRuiter

Today I'm excited to introduce my first international librarian on the blog. Julia De Ruiter lives in NEW ZEALAND! Now forever known as "that place Lord of the Rings" was filmed. You can find Julia on Twitter at @JuliaDeRuiter

Let's begin!

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

 I work in a medium sized public library in Oamaru, New Zealand. We serve a wide range of patrons- kids, retirees, families, students & tourists from all over the world

 My job title is officially Library Assistant but I’ve managed to take on a few extra jobs above my pay grade ;) ( If you don’t ask,you don’t get right?!) I take care of holds, serials, children's processing, social media, displays and I run Wriggle and Rhyme ( a music and movement group for 0-2 year olds) along with my colleague every Friday. I also have one rostered shift on the circulation/reference desk per day. 

I  feel very lucky that I can say I genuinely love my job - every day is different. Something a lot of people find interesting is that I never planned on becoming a librarian- I just kind of fell into it. I was planning on working for a year before going to study Occupational Therapy. This job came up and I thought it sounded awesome. Little did I know I would still be here four years later and totally committed to libraries and the communities they serve. I’ve been studying through correspondence since I started at the library and recently completed my Level 5 Diploma. I’m currently studying towards a Certificate in Literature and Services for Children and Young People. It’s been a crazy ride at times; balancing work & family life with community commitments, a lot of travel and study but I don’t regret a second of it.

Libraries rock! (Yes they do! And I love how you fell into a career that fits you!)

What was the most recent book request?
 The Winter Rose by Jennifer Donnelly has been super popular in our library over the last couple of months.

What was your most recent book suggestion to a patron?
 One woman was fixated with Phillipa Gregory novels and didn’t want to read anything else but I convinced her to try The Wild Hunt by Elizabeth Chadwick. She came back raving and put holds on two more. Job done. (Yay, you!)

What was your most recent book suggestion to a friend?
 I suggested my friend read I am number four by Pittacus Lore. I’m really into reading YA fiction, mainly to keep on top of the trends and for readers advisory purposes but I do enjoy the majority of the books I read.

If you could sit down to your favorite beverage with any current kidlit author, who would it be? And why?
 I would sit down for a vanilla latte with the one and only Oliver Jeffers. He is so cool! I love the quirky nature of his picture books especially the ‘Incredible Book Eating Boy”. (Now I am craving a vanilla latte)

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)
 There is a picture book called "Bony-legs" by Joanna Cole and illustrated by Dirk Zimmer which my sister loved when we were little. I’ve always wanted to read it again, because it had such good memories. Professionally, I would love if our library held more books about social media and marketing in libraries because that’s an area I’m particularly interested in. "The Librarian’s Nitty-Gritty Guide to Social Media" by Laura Solomon is one that we have recently purchased and I highly recommend it. (That sounds really interesting)

What about you would make us say, “REALLY? But you’re a librarian!” ?
 Hmmm, that’s a tricky one. I’m the opposite of the traditional stereotyped librarian so I cop quite a bit of flak when I tell people I’m a librarian. They immediately say ‘Oh, you don’t look like a librarian-where are your glasses, hair in a bun and pearls?”. Drives me up the wall! Probably the main thing is that my books aren’t organised in any kind of logical sequence. They are just stacked in ways I think look pretty. I will admit though, that when I was in high school everything in my wardrobe was colour coded, and hung in height order within the colour categories.

Five favorite books of the past five years. 

 Argh! What a mean question! I’ve read so many great books but I guess if I had to pick five mine would be : (looks around sheepishly)

The Last Quarter of the Moon by Chi Zijian: I loved the way this book was written- it truly takes you to another world. I was very excited when the translator of the book commented on the book review I did on my blog!

Saving June by Hannah HarringtonI read this as an ebook while I was on my summer holiday and something about it really appealed to my wild nature. (This has been on my TBR pile for a while. Guess it's time to buy it)

Kitchen Chinese by Ann MahI love food and the descriptions in this book made my mouth water! (Food books are always a win!)

Divergent by Veronica RothI read this before it became a ‘thing’ and became immediately obsessed. I’m hanging out for the third book Allegiant to be released late October

City of Bones by Cassandra ClareI also read this before it became popular. I like how it transported me to a completely different world and how well the characters were developed.

Thanks for stopping by, Julia! And thanks for the recs!


  1. One day I hope to travel to New Zealand. Maybe I'll have to stop by Julia's library when I do. :-)

    1. New Zealand is an awesome place to live! I'd love to have you visit! ;D

    2. New Zealand is an awesome place to live! I'd love to have you visit! :D

  2. Loved the interview! And how great to wander into a career that turns out to be so perfect for you. :)

    1. Thanks Shari-I feel very fortunate :)

  3. From both photo and interview Julia is no Marian-the-librarian, but one spunky adorable and chic yourng lady. Love these interviews, J. Ro!

    1. Aw, thanks Mirka-thats very kind :)

  4. How wonderful to stumble into a career you love! Good luck with getting your certificate.

    1. I love coming to work every day pumped and energised! Thanks-only one more assignment to go!

  5. Fun interview! I work in a library, too, so I found it especially interesting. :)

  6. I love Julia's striped shirt! Stripes are awesome. =)

  7. How cool that you're interviewing librarians! I love reading about the most recent requests and suggestions.


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