Posted in Ask the Librarian

Ask the librarian: Kay Cuthrell

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Name of Library : McIntyre Elementary School, Southfield Public Schools

What kind of librarian are you?
I am a Library Media Specialist

How long have you been a librarian?
I worked as an Intern at the Southfield Public Library in 1987 while I was going to Library School. I worked full-time from 1990-2000. I’ve worked for Southfield Public Schools as a Media Specialist since 2000.
What lead you to wanting to be a librarian?
I wanted to be a teacher and work with kids. I also LOVE reading and books, so becoming a Librarian was the combination of those two loves.
How do you pick books for your library?
I read book reviews, but I also pay attention to what the students at my school are interested in reading since I know that they’ll read more if they enjoy what they are reading.
Do you have a favorite author?
My Mom is a voratious reader and took us to the public library every week when I was growing up. I found the stash of Mom’s books, in the attic, when I was a teenager and read every one of them. My favorite, to this day, is The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett. Our school library was even decorated as The Secret Garden for a time. My favorite contemporary author is Patricia Polacco. I can identify with many of the topics in her books. I also love that she grew up here in Michigan and has also returned to live on the west side of the state.

How do you decide what book to recommend to a specific kid?
The key is to find out what the student is actually looking to read. Students often don’t know how to explain what they want. Usually, after asking leading questions and browsing the library shelves with them, the student usually walks away with what they want (or they know what to look for at the public library if we don’t have it at school).

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