HomeBooks by AgeAges 4-8On the Shelf with Librarian Cathy Potter
Mr. Wuffles! (Caldecott Medal - Honors Winning Title(s)) By David Wiesner

On the Shelf with Librarian Cathy Potter

The Children’s Book Review
Published: September 17, 2013

Cathy Potter

Cathy Potter

Cathy Potter is a school librarian at Falmouth Elementary School in Falmouth, Maine. She serves on the Chickadee Award committee, the 2014 Sibert Medal committee, and she co-authors The Nonfiction Detectives blog: http://www.nonfictiondetectives.com/. You can also find her online at these fun places: Twitter (@cppotter) and her school library Web site: http://mrspotter.edublogs.org/ 

TCBR is so happy to shine the spotlight on Cathy Potter!

Bianca Schulze: Why did you choose to be a librarian?

Cathy Potter: I was a 5th and 6th grade teacher for twelve years, and during that time I collaborated a lot with the school librarian. I loved teaching students how to research, and I’ve always been passionate about literature. In 2004 I decided to take a risk and go back to school to earn my Master’s of Library Science degree; it’s one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.

BS: Librarians are the ultimate evangelists for reading. How do you encourage students and children to read?

CP: The most effective way to encourage children to read is through face-to-face interactions in the library and in classrooms. I love to give book talks, and I show a lot of book trailers to my students. I also offer a Mock Newbery book club, host author events, and organize Skype author visits throughout the year. Last year I started “focus groups” in the library. Teachers send five or six students to the library at an arranged time. We sit around a table, and I booktalk piles of books that I have pre-selected for those readers. Each student leaves with books and a list of books to check out in the future. It’s been a big hit with readers.

BS: Which kids’ or teen book is the most frequently checked-out in your library? Why do you think it is?

SmileCP: Smile by Raina Telgemeier was our most checked-out book last year.  It was on our state book award list a few years ago, and it’s still really popular. Kids love reading graphic novels, and Smile is a middle grade coming-of-age story that really resonates with both boys and girls.

BS: Which new releases are you dying to lay your hands on?

CP: Mr. Wuffles by David Weisner,  Battle Bunny by Mac Barnett and Jon Scieszka, and From Norvelt to Nowhere by Jack Gantos.

Mr Wuffles

BS: Could you tell us one thing about librarians or libraries that you think would be surprising?

CP: Working in a library involves very little sitting. It’s very physical and sometimes dusty. The job involves lifting boxes, adjusting shelves, carrying iPads, and moving bookcases. I also spend a lot of time on my feet helping patrons and delivering books to students and teachers when I’m not teaching classes.

BS: I’m sure that you are asked many interesting questions on a daily basis. What would you say has been the most entertaining question asked of you by a parent or a child?

The Tale of Peter RabbitCP: A Kindergarten student asked me if I was the author of Peter Rabbit. We had been reading The Tale of Peter Rabbit, and with a name like Mrs. Potter he thought I might be Beatrix.

BS: If you could be any fictional character from children’s literature, who would it be? Why? 

CP: I would like to be Hermione Granger because she is able to maintain straight A’s while fighting trolls and death eaters. In real life, I was exactly like Ramona Quimby as a child. I even had a Ramona haircut.

Learn more about Cathy Potter, visit:  http://www.nonfictiondetectives.com/@cppotter, and http://mrspotter.edublogs.org/

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Bianca Schulze is the founder of The Children’s Book Review. She is a reader, reviewer, mother and children’s book lover. She also has a decade’s worth of experience working with children in the great outdoors. Combined with her love of books and experience as a children’s specialist bookseller, the goal is to share her passion for children’s literature to grow readers. Born and raised in Sydney, Australia, she now lives with her husband and three children near Boulder, Colorado.

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