Number of Years Working in Libraries: 27
Favorite Book (or author or genre): Holy Bible
First / Favorite Library: I have fond memories serving as the Branch Manager at the Dr. George Cleveland Hall Branch of the Chicago Public Library located in the Bronzeville community. The branch was named for a prominent African-American surgeon and civic leader who served on the library's Board of Directors. The branch was the first location with an African-American Branch Manager, Vivian G. Harsh. She is credited with developing the Harsh Collection of African-American History which is now the second largest repository in the country currently housed at the Carter G. Woodson Regional Library. Hall Branch was designated as a Literary Landmark by the Friends of the Library USA and the Illinois Center for the Book in recognition for promoting literary culture by serving as a "meeting place" for writers such as Zora Neale Hurston, Langston Hughes, Richard Wright, Gwendolyn Brooks, and Lorraine Hansberry.
Favorite Thing About Libraries: They're a great equalizer!
Number of Years Working in Libraries: 16
Favorite Book (or author or genre): I can't even.... Absurdism, magical realism, cyberpunk, noir, and literary.
First / Favorite Library: Harold Washington Public
Favorite Thing About Libraries: That there is this group of people whose whole, entire job is to help other people discover interesting things.
Currently Reading: All children's literature! I'm at home with young children and quarantine means we read all day - just their books!
Number of Years Working in Libraries: 10
Favorite Book (or author or genre): I read all over the place. The last few years I've tended towards non-fiction and love previewing sections of the many diverse books that come through the library! I also love international literature. In the last few years I've been enjoying Orhan Pamuk, Chimamnda Ngozi Adichie, and Michael Ondaatje. I will read any Russian Literature and was so enamored with it in college that I studied Russian. That being said, one of my absolute favorite writers is American, Simon van Booy. I also see some other favorites listed in all of my colleagues lists!
First / Favorite Library: One of my first independent privileges was to walk a mile from our home to our branch library. I went every week and the librarian became quite good at helping me find engaging novels. I also love the English Library at UIUC, the librarian that worked there when I was an undergrad had a magical ability to find every obscure reference I could come up with. But my absolute favorite librarian was my Grandmother, who was a children's librarian in Hinsdale, and worked tirelessly with me as a child to get me hooked on books (even when I insisted I did not like reading!).
Favorite Thing About Libraries: There are two aspects of libraries I love. I love the treasure hunt! Libraries hold these vast reservoirs of knowledge, in a curated form, that enable access and synthesis of our life and culture (and it's history). Librarians are able to locate such specific information within this environment and it always feels so magical (even as a librarian!). There is so much to learn and find and working in libraries I love encountering these new (or really very old) ideas! I also (echoing my colleague Versie) believe that libraries are critical players in our communities that provide incredible access to all. We specifically design our collections, resources, and programs to meet the needs and uplift whatever community we are serving. And libraries open their doors to all, which is so vitally important.
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Number of Years Working in Libraries: 21
Favorite Book (or author / genre): I can't pick a single favorite book, but am currently enjoying graphic novels and ghost stories. Some of my all-time favorite authors are Sherman Alexie, Sandra Cisneros, and John Steinbeck. The one book that is a favorite and that I reread every few years is The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton. I also enjoy reading children's books.
First (or favorite) Library: I love them all. My first library was the Allapattah Branch of the Miami-Dade Public Library in Florida. For a kid who loved reading, but whose parents could not afford to buy books, it was like a second home where I would read all my favorites: Greek mythology, Beverly Cleary, Encyclopedia Brown, Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle.
Favorite Thing About Libraries: The library has always been where I go for knowledge, for answers, for tranquility, for self-improvement, and for entertainment. I love that libraries offer something for everyone and that they encourage curiosity and lifelong learning.
Number of Years Working in Libraries: 11
Favorite Book (or author or genre): It's too hard to name just one! Some of my perennial favorite books and stories include The Awakening by Kate Chopin, Emma by Jane Austen, Neuromancer by William Gibson, The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka, and The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov; some favorite authors are Neil Gaiman (not just for his writing - he's also a great library and literacy advocate!), Ta-Nehisi Coates, Flannery O'Connor, and Jeannette Winterson.
First / Favorite Library: I have fond memories of the libraries of my childhood, in Milwaukee (where I remember seeing the Kiss comic that was printed with blood from the band members), and in Elgin (where I spent many hours as a teenager browsing and reading science fiction and biographies).
Favorite Thing About Libraries: Libraries are archives of the past, access to the world, and possibilities for the future. And it's nice to be surrounded by books.
Read the full list of Top 10 Most Challenged Books.