Librarian Spotlight #4
By Bianca Schulze, The Children’s Book Review
Published: November 17, 2012
Patty Saidenberg is the hardworking librarian of George Jackson Academy in New York city. “George Jackson Academy is the only school of its kind in New York City: an independent, nonsectarian upper elementary and middle school for academically capable boys from lower-income and underserved families.” With a deep fascination for why people are motivated to stay literate, Patty Saidenberg is a great new edition to our On the Shelf column.
Bianca Schulze: Why did you choose to be a librarian?
Patty Saidenberg: After teaching First and Second grade for over a decade, I fell in love with how people become literate and why they’re motivated to stay literate.
BS: Librarians are the ultimate evangelists for reading. How do you encourage students and children to read?
PS: It’s easy to get students and children to read, you just have to offer them the right book at the right time. Listening to their wants and needs and pairing it with a book in the collection is the biggest challenge of all. I don’t want to offer them the book they should be or are expected to be reading, but a book that they want to read and will continue to read.
BS: What is your favorite read-aloud for a preschool story-time? Why?
PS: My absolute favorite book for a pre-school read-aloud is Mary Ann Hoberman’s The Seven Silly Eaters. The text has a wonderful rythm, it centers around a family and there’s a delicious solution in the end!
PS: I Am Number Four: The Lost Files: the Legacies by Pittacus Lore (published by HarperCollins).
BS: What steps do you take to strengthen the relationship of the library with local schools and the community?
PS: I’m a middle school librarian. The older children go to the NYPL main branch, learn how to research, how to request information and navigate their databases – either from home or from the library.
BS: What kinds of regular reading events or story-time sessions do you host?
PS: We have daily read aloud drop-ins during study hall and lunch. There is also a a period of time during class that a read aloud occurs.
BS: Could you tell us one thing about librarians or libraries that you think would be surprising?
PS: We’re spies.
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?
PS: You went to school for THAT?!
BS: If you could be any fictional character from children’s literature, who would it be? Why?
PS: Jane Eyre, because she’s brave and strong.