Tuesday, May 18, 2010

FEATURED SWEETHEART: Christina Hicks

The Texas Sweethearts are thrilled to annouce our Featured Sweethearts is librarian Christina Hicks. Christina is an active volunteer, and she is full of enthusiasm and passion when it comes to young adult literature.

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TXS: You stay busy as a librarian and volunteer, Christina. Could you tell us about your involvement in TLA, and what you're looking forward to?

CH: This was my second TLA conference (I got to attend last year and even brought about 10 teens on TT4L day!), but my first as a really active member of YART (Young Adult Round Table). I am one of the newest members of the Maverick Graphic Novel List Committee, so I was really looking forward to meeting the other members of our committee, especially after Wylaina gave us capes to wear!

Since TLA has come and gone, I’ll talk about the things I enjoyed rather than what I’m looking forward to, I always love meeting favorite authors- this year I got to meet Shannon Hale and my internet/YA author icon Maureen Johnson! I also loved all of the sessions I attended, especially author panels where authors share their process and inspirations. The Give a Kid a Book booktalking session was also great as were YART booklists booktalks.





 

TXS: What influenced you to become a librarian and what advice do you have for folks wishing to become librarians?
 
CH: I don’t think my decision to become a librarian shocked anyone. I’ve always been a reader, my best friend and I would share a book during recess in middle school, walking back to class slowly so we could read as much as possible- our teacher dubbed us the Laggers. On my 16th birthday I turned in my application to work at my local library and shelved my way through high school. And I’ve never looked back; I’ve never even held a job outside of a library! I love being surrounded by, not just books, but information. I think a big characteristic of librarians is that we thirst for knowledge; if a question comes up during the day I can’t rest until I find the answer. If a patron needs something I can’t help looking and looking until I find it. I also love sharing my interests with people, and since my biggest interest is books…. :)

My advice for those wishing to pursue a career as a librarian, especially if you are getting your Masters degree, is to have a strong support group! I completed my MLS online while working full time, and my coworkers, friends and family were definitely a great help!



TXS: How do you get teens excited about reading? What are some books they've been asking for?
 
CH: I’m lucky to work in an area that has a strong population of avid teen readers, but for those who are not big readers I’ve built up our graphic novel collection and tried to emphasize GNs as a legitimate literary vehicle that is just a good as a regular book. I usually have newer books sitting out at my desk when the junior high kids come in after school which puts it right in their eyeline while hanging out with me. By hanging out with them I’ve gotten pretty good at matching up their interests with possible books they’d like. And it’s always great to listen to their opinions on books they’ve already read whether they like them or not.

Books my kids can’t get enough of include the Olympians series by Rick Riordan, the Hunger Games series by Suzanne Collins, Naruto and Bleach manga series, the Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare, Maximum Ride series by James Patterson. Basically any series worth its salt can generate a healthy following.



TXS: Could you share some of your most rewarding experiences?
 
CH: There are so so so many! Okay, this may sound a little geeky but I’m really proud I introduced the British television series Doctor Who to my kids--they love it! I also get really pumped when they rush into the library to tell me about their day at school. When tell I *must* read a certain book. When they race each other to the computer to put a book on hold. When a preschooler I do storytime for comes into the library and whispers to their parent (‘That’s the library lady!’). When I have to kick kids out of my programs. When a little girl asks for me by name to tell me about a dream she had about me. When the preschool classes I read to remember the books I read to them a month before and request even older ones again. Giving a kid a book that makes their eyes light up. Helping a frustrated parent.

Yeah, this is a pretty sweet job.


TXS: What is your hope for libraries and books in the future?
 
CH: My hope is that we can make it clear to lawmakers and naysayers that libraries are dynamic places within the community. If books move, in a permanent way, to different formats that we will be able to continue adapting to those changes. And that we will always be able to offer information, privacy, and a welcoming environment that is free for all. And I think we can do it.



TXS: Thank you, Christina! We are so happy to feature you!

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Please email us your nominations for featured sweethearts.

3 comments:

  1. Dr WHO??

    I love you already!

    A librarian and a Dr. Who fan - as a Brit I must tell you that I grew up on books and this timeless series.

    THANK YOU for a lovely interview!

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  2. Great interview ... I love how she summed up her hope for libraries/books in the future. That very question arose in our city recently, as our library is losing it's current space and looking for a new place to move into.

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  3. You're welcome, Ann Marie! I've heard great things about Dr. Who (but haven't yet watch it :) )

    Thanks, Kelly! It's hard to believe how the face of libraries is changing.

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