We're thrilled to featured Jill Bellomy today as our first back-to-school Featured Sweetheart!
TXS&S: Can you share with us what you do and what keeps you motivated?
JB: This year I will be a full-time student again as I start my doctoral studies. Because I am involved with Lone Star and Librarians' Choices (and because I love it!), I am an AVID reader of young adult literature. I blog about my reading on www.jilliciousreading.com. I also volunteer at a local middle school to stay in touch with young readers.
My favorite thing about being a librarian is connecting kids with books. Even as a librarian without a library :) , I am constantly recommending books and trying to match the kids (and adults!) I know with the right book ... the book that will "hook" them or keep them reading. Wanting to always be prepared and to know the latest & greatest in books keeps me very motivated. I am constantly reading books and reading ABOUT books!
Another way I stay motivated is by striving to continually learn, grow, and take on new challenges professionally. This is what led me to pursue my PhD, and I am looking forward to this new adventure!
TXS&S: What (or who) inspired you to become such an awesome reading advocate?
JB: I am inspired by non-readers. Sometimes called "reluctant readers," I believe these are just kids who haven't found the right book yet. So, that's my challenge! To get to know these students and to work to find that book. My greatest joy is seeing the excitement of kids after finally finding the book they can't put down! When they come running in the next day wanting to tell me all about it and to check out something else, it just makes my heart sing! :)
I also believe our kids have rights as readers ... the right to choose what they want to read .... the right to like what they like and not what they don't! .... the right to read books outside their "reading level".... the right to just look at the pictures! My belief in these rights - the rights I enjoyed as a young, developing reader - inspire me to advocate for my students.
TXS&S: What are some things you're looking forward to?
JB: I am looking forward to starting classes and working with new colleagues.
I am looking forward to exploring Google+; I broke-up with Facebook last year and am wondering if I will fall for these Google Circles! Right now we are dating, and I'm definitely interested. :)
I am looking forward to a week in sunny Cabo San Lucas with my husband and lots & lots of books!
After that, I am looking forward to some cooler weather! Come on, fall! Come on, football season!
And, I am always looking forward to the next box of books that will arrive on my doorstep!
TXS&S: If you could make a wish for children and reading in the future, what would it be?
JB: It is my wish, that as wonderful as e-books are, that children will always have their first reading experiences with books they can touch, pages they can turn, and illustrations they can look at for hours (without needing recharging!) and that these books would be shared with them by people they love. I would hope these positive experiences would lead them to a lifelong love affair with the written word and that they would always treasure the feel & the power of a great book!
TXS&S: Would your friends and colleagues consider you a Sweetheart or Scoundrel, and why?
JB: I want to be a Scoundrel, because it just sounds so much more fun! But, I think my friends would consider me a Sweetheart. I enjoy people - especially the quirky! - and try to always look for the best in everyone. :)
JB: It is a true honor to be a part of the Texas Sweethearts & Scoundrels Blog!
TXS&S: And we are honored to have you here!
BIO (In Jill's own words):
Most of my childhood was spent in Midland, Texas (except for a few years in Stavanger, Norway). After graduating from Texas A&M University, I taught elementary and middle school in the Dallas area. I earned my Master's of Library Science at the University of North Texas and then worked as an elementary and middle school librarian. I served as a member of the Texas Lone Star Reading List Committee and am now the committee chair. I also recently joined the Librarians' Choices Project. This fall I will begin doctoral classes at Texas Woman's University.
On a personal level, I have been married to my college sweetheart, Jason, for 18 years. We live in Dallas with our two very spoiled dogs. We love sports, art, live music, traveling, eating, and spending time with our family. We hope to someday live in the Texas Hill Country.