Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Meet Your Board: Sue Abrahamson, WLA Board Liason

Sue is a longtime member of YSS and we're glad to have her active on the board in the capacity of WLA Board Liason. Here are Sue's answers to the interview questions for this year's YSS Board:

Tell us a little bit about yourself.
Sue Abrahamson, married, mother of two amazing adult daughters, grandmother to a book-loving six-year-old and another baby due end of April 2017 - destined to be a reader by the size of his bookshelf already. Have lived in Waupaca for 40 years - 20 years at the Waupaca Area Public Library. Youth Services Liaison for the Outagamie Waupaca Library System (OWLS) and Youth Services Section Liaison to the Wisconsin Library Association Board.

How did you get involved with WLA and the Youth Services Section?
After years of lurking at conferences, I took the plunge to submit my name as a section volunteer.  Served first as Director-at-Large (loved it), then as Vice-Chair, Chair, Past-Chair. Used this experience as a jumping off point to ALA volunteer work on 2016 Odyssey Award Committee.

What’s your favorite thing to eat while reading?
Definitely, potato chips.

If you could have any book character as a best friend, who would you choose and why?
Hmmmmm... It certainly would be a strong, smart, take-no-guff female character with a strong sense of justice.  Katniss Everdeen or Hermione Granger?

How would you define your library programming style?
My library programming style appears very much "by-the-seat-of-her-pants" but truly it is eclectic and innovative. Love trying new stuff all the time.  Wish I had invented Pinterest.

What is the last series that you read with your eyes and/or your ears?
Just finished John Lewis's March graphic novel series.... read with my eyes and my heart.

What is your favorite genre? Which genre would you choose to go outside your comfort zone?
Love non-fiction that reads like fiction. Once took Hoose's Moonbird to a complete stranger's house and got that person to read it. I recommend just about anything by Steve Sheinkin.  Reading horror would definitely put me out of my comfort zone.

Tell us about a memorable experience at WLA or WAPL.
Memorable experiences at WLA or WAPL conferences are all about putting yourself "out there."  Sure had a good time playing trivia with fun people at last year's WLA Foundation Fundraiser.  It's not all work, you know.

What was your favorite book or story as a child?
I was not a reader as a child.  On my 13th birthday, my brother gave me a book of short stories and I threw it back at him, not knowing what I was supposed to do with a gift like that.  I was the child the public librarian watched immediately upon entering the library.  I think I might have heard her say, "Get what you need and leave."  Hence, my dedication not to be that person.

If you had to tell a story or a folktale, which one would you tell?
Love the trickster tales..... Anansi stories are great.  Love to share Yuyi Morales's book Just a Minute.

What’s your method for getting distracted kids (of any age) back on track during a program?
Distracted kids!?  How about distracted story tellers!  Mix it up.... move around.... make sure you always have an activity that is hands on or rhythmic in nature.

Where do you get inspiration for your work?
I find inspiration everywhere.  What gets me most excited is the ideas I get from outside the library world.  I also do my best thinking in the shower.... always short of hot water after a brainstorm.

Share an awesome library moment with us.
Just today, a retired rocket scientist from our community stopped in to visit.  I was sharing all the fun we were having with coding in our library.  He is in love with Arduino (interactive electronics).  He offered to buy the library equipment and come in to share what he has learned with our patrons. This happens to us all the time!!  I'm not kidding.  Our awesome library moments happen when ordinary citizens become our library champions.

What do you like to do in your free time to recharge?
Sleep is a great recharger.  Being with the grandchildren can't be beat. 

Which author, living or dead, would you most like to have over for dinner?
I would want to have stimulating conversation at the dinner table.... maybe J. K. Rowling, John Green, Melissa Stewart, Steve Sheinkin, .....oh, and Bill Nye, the Science Guy.

Which book(s) have your read and re-read and read again?
I think I have listened and read The War That Saved My Life (Kimberly Brubaker Bradley) four times in such a short time since it came out.

How do you break the ice with teen patrons?
Learn their names.  Ask them about their day.  Ask them to help you with something, or to teach you something about technology (I've even faked it).

What’s your go-to storytime song?
I've switched up the Wisconsin Badger favorite "If You Want to Be a Badger" to sing "If You Want to Be a Reader."  I get more parent involvement as they already know the tune and words. I've added some simple sign language hand motions for fun.

How do you enhance your Readers Advisory skills?
We do a monthly book talk to students in grades 4 & 5, and a quarterly book talk to teachers in Grades K-5.  So keeping current with reading is a high priority.  Certainly asking what they liked to read last and why they liked it gives us great clues as to where to go next.  Our catalog and Novelist are handy tools.

What’s your favorite part of being a librarian?
The people connections have got to be my favorite part of being a librarian.  I actually love it when people know me as the librarian when I'm at the Piggly Wiggly and say hi.

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