I’m coming up on my four year anniversary of being a public librarian at the end of April. It seems like a very long time ago that I was working in both the UDHS and the UDPL libraries. And while I’ve been a part of so many amazing events, programs, and initiatives, I still think that the best part of my job is the books. If you had told thirteen year old me that I’d be able to buy books for a living, I wouldn’t have believed you. And even if you had been able to convince me that I could buy books, you’d NEVER have been able to make me believe that I’d get to meet the people who write those books!
UDPL’s participation in the Let’s Discuss It and One Author, One County programs has enabled me to shake hands with Matthew Quick, Daniel James Brown, and (this coming Sunday – there are tickets still available!!) with Rick Steves. But those were author events geared towards adults and I was an adult staff member helping out. Even more exciting has been the opportunity to arrange author visits for the teens and tweens of Upper Dublin!
David Lubar (author of Nathan Abercrombie, Accidental Zombie, The Weenies Series, Dunk, Sleeping Freshmen Never Lie, and more) was my first author encounter at UDPL. I wasn’t surprised when he told the audience that he does stand-up comedy considering how his stories had everyone bent over laughing.
Jordan Sonnenblick (author of Drums, Girls & Dangerous Pies, Notes from the Midnight Driver, After Ever After and more) was my second author. He came to visit the summer that we got our first 3D printers. I will never forget the scene of him standing in the library work room, surrounded by teens, watching the printer go back and forth, back and forth.
Micol Ostow (author of The Devil and Winnie Flynn, Amity, the Louise Trapeze series, and more) was the first author visit I arranged completely on my own. I was incredibly nervous waiting for her at 30th Street Station, but she was so gracious and kind that I immediately calmed down, which is funny since her horror books are chilling. (Amity kept me up at night!)
Margo Rabb (author of Kissing in America and Cures for Heartbreak) came to visit last summer. Her presentation quickly became more about her curiosity about the audience and their writing habits! I still hear her voice in my head each night as I journal reminding me that I get to make my own journaling rules because it’s my journal and my writing!
And Eric Smith (author of Inked, Branded, The Geek’s Guide to Dating, and more) came to visit just two weeks ago! He’s a champion of all YA authors and talked about his peers’ books as well as his own. My favorite moment of his two talks was when he admitted that he’d love to be a writer for video games because it was the moment when the entire room (including me!) realized that video game writer is a possible (and viable) profession!
All of these amazing authors shared their stories, their paths, and their experiences with our teens. They detailed the hard work and dedication it took to publish their works. And, most of all, each one of them expressed their joy in being authors of books for young adults.
I think that’s what why YA author visits are so important. It isn’t about the signed books or the educational opportunity (although those are important) but it’s more about introducing students to successful individuals who have followed their dreams and dedicated themselves to making those dreams come true.
We have another author/illustrator, Matt Phelan, scheduled for a visit in July. I got a preview of his presentation earlier this month and I’m already excited to hear him tell his story to our teens.
Matt’s actually coming on my birthday and I can’t think of a better way to turn 36 than with someone who not only loves his job, but loves sharing his books, talent, and experiences with the teens I work with at my job!