By Lauren K. Lee, M.Ln.
Sometimes I get to be “just a librarian,” not a librarian/bookseller/trainer/salesperson. Attending Library Journal’s Day of Dialog last week was one of those times. I’m pretty sure that I attended the first one in the late 1990s. I spoke on a panel about opening day collections in 2005. I don’t believe I attended in the last eight years or so. It felt good to be back. I saw the familiar faces of Barbara Hoffert, and Francine Fialkoff, and Nancy Pearl, and Marci Purcell.
I came away from the author and editor panels with a very long list of books to read and a tote bag full of advance reading copies. More importantly, I came away feeling more like a librarian—even a reader’s advisor (“Oh, Amber would love that book!”). When I hear an author tell a good story about why they wrote a particular book, I am immediately intrigued. The same is true for hearing about a mystery set near my home, or for an editor explaining why a title becomes a “lead read.”
As one who loves selecting adult nonfiction, I am not surprised that the nonfiction panel was my favorite. I find the storylines and the way they unfold to be every bit as captivating as fiction. For instance: A woman tries to solve the mystery of why her cousin became a victim of the juvenile justice system. A director has to learn more about the story behind the play she is directing. A contemporary single woman is fascinated by the Vogue editor who talked about “extra women” and the advantages of the “live-aloners.”
On to fiction. How can you resist the “first sentient sourdough starter” as a main character? Or the story of a drug that addicts the user to work? (Has someone been slipping me that one?) The author of this last one had the best quote of the whole day: “I went into fiction to tell the truth.”
The word of the day at Day of Dialog was “trope.” Guess I had better learn to use it in a sentence soon.
Don’t we work in a wonderful profession? We get people’s thoughts brewing, just like that sourdough starter (or the first batch of kombucha I just made).
Lauren Lee is approaching her 40th year as a librarian, with more than half of that spent at Brodart. Although she rarely gets to select now, she loves life on the road, visiting as many public libraries as possible. Click here for more.
4 thoughts on “Just a Librarian”
Hi Lauren, I was wondering about the title/author of the book about a drug that addicts users to work? I have a workaholic friend I would love to rec that to! – Gina Dreyer
Thank you for your response. I was desperately trying to avoid titles but I will spill some now. Although I haven’t read it yet, the title in question is Autonomous: A Novel by Annalee Newitz (the author who said she went into fiction to tell the truth). It is rather ironic that I am answering this comment while on vacation!
I also have to mention a title that I literally could not put down this week: An American Marriage by Tayari Jones.
Hi Lauren! I like your post – kindred librarians! I liked it even more when I read the fourth word from the end…. KOMBUCHA!! Me too! Let’s be friends! hahaha
Librarians have broad-ranging interests, don’t we? My favorite kombucha brews so far—raspberry and pineapple ginger. Can’t think of a business reason to post a photo of my SCOBY hotel though—some people might find it less than inspiring. Drink up in good health!