Tuesday, March 4, 2014

KEEPER OF WONDER: An Interview with Lori Faust

Lori Faust, Librarian Extraordinaire
It's been too long since I've had a librarian (aka Keeper of Wonder) on my blog, but today I'm so excited because Lori Faust is here. And Lori has the distinction of having served on the Newberry Committee! (True fact: Before I wrote YA, I thought I was going to be a Middle Grade author and I had deep, secret Newberry dreams. I blame Kate Di Camillo for that!)

Here we go!

  1. Tell us about your library? (Where, what, anything quirky or cool?) What's your job title and description?
I work for the Warren-Trumbull County Public Library in Warren, Ohio (northeast Ohio). We have a “main” library in downtown Warren, a bookmobile that traverses the county, and five branch library locations. I am the Youth Services Department Manager, which means I supervise all of the children’s librarians, the teen librarian, and the paraprofessional staff (9 staff members in all) system-wide. Because we are not that large of a system, I do it all: collection development and maintenance, programming, customer service, and outreach. Lots of variety and never a dull moment!
  1. I heard through your friend, Rebecca Barnhouse, that you served on the Newberry selection committee once. Tell us (what you can) what that was like! How did they select you?
Serving on the Newbery selection committee was, without a doubt, a career highlight! I had served on other ALSC committees and I had been a member of the inaugural Bill Morris Seminar: Book Evaluation Training when I was appointed to the committee (some members are elected, others are appointed). It was a very intense year of reading – committee members get bombarded with shipments of books from publishers – but a wonderful experience of camaraderie with one’s fellow committee members. Everyone takes the responsibility of selecting the most distinguished book for children published that year so seriously. It is such an incredible feeling of commitment to the process, and I was so proud of our results!
  1. What was the most recent book request?
Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass: The Story Behind an American Friendship, by Russell Freedman
  1. What was your most recent book suggestion to a patron?
The Bike Lesson by Stan and Jan Berenstain. The patron was looking for books with a guided reading level of “G” – “I”. We have sets of “leveled readers,” but they aren’t very interesting reading. I wanted this child to have something that would be fun to read, so I checked one of my Fountas & Pinnell references and found this title on the level “I” list.
  1. What was your most recent book suggestion to a friend?
Life After Life by Kate Atkinson. Best “grown up” book I read last year! The writing, the intricacy of the plot – blew me away! (I'll have to look that one up!)

  1. If you could sit down to your favorite beverage with any current kidlit author, who would it be? And why?
Oooh – so tough! If I can only pick one, I guess I’d have to go with Neil Gaiman. He excels at every genre and he’s such a passionate supporter of libraries. Love him!
  1. 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)
Hmmm – another tough question. I wish I had a personal collection of all the Newbery medal winners, but we do own them all at my library. And I guess I wish some of my favorite authors would publish more often, because I can’t get enough of them (Barbara Kingsolver, for example!).   (She's one of my favorites, as well. I got to hear her read last year which was thrilling.)
  1. What factors influence your decision to add a book to your collection?
Reviewer recommendations are the main reason I purchase something, but I’m also aware of what is popular in my community and what the teachers are looking for, so I’ll keep an eye out for materials that meet those needs. My collection budget is generous, so I order everything that sounds good! (My shelves, however, are pretty packed!)
  1. What about you would make us say, “REALLY? But you’re a librarian!” ?
Well, I have a pretty sarcastic sense of humor and people expect children’s librarians to be sweet (I AM sweet to the kids and parents), so sometimes that surprises people. Otherwise, I’d say I’m pretty stereotypical – and by that I mean cool, quirky, and eclectic! I do not, however, own a cat, and I never will.  (No doubt, librarians are the coolest!)
  1. Five favorite books of the past five years.
A mix of adult, teen, and children’s books (in no particular order):
    1. Life After Life, Kate Atkinson
    2. The Fault in Our Stars, John Green
    3. Wolf Hall, Hilary Mantel
    4. When You Reach Me, Rebecca Stead
    5. Where the Mountain Meets the Moon, Grace Lin

Thanks so much for stopping by Lori! (If you are a librarian, or know a librarian, who'd like to be featured, my email address is in the top right info box on this blog)


  1. Catching coffee with Niel Gaiman (or Barbara Kingsolver) would be so amazing! Great interview, and really interesting to see a bit more into the Newberry!

  2. How cool to serve on the Newbery committee! (And I, too, would love to have a personal collection of all the Newbery winners. And honour books, of course. Shelf space could become a problem...) ;)

    Loved the interview. Thanks so much, Lori and JRo!

  3. This was great! It's always fun to get a glimpse into librarian heads and especially fun to get book recommends...adding both the adult ones to my TBR. Thanks!

  4. Great interview. You are so on top of everything. I love sending our grand daughter to your library. Keep up the good work. If I can help you let me know.

  5. Great interview. You are always on top of everything. That's why we enjoy sending our grand daughter to your library. If I can help you with anything let me know Congratulations


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