On the Shelf with Librarian Rebecca Teglas
Librarian Spotlight #7
By Bianca Schulze, The Children’s Book Review
Published: February 17, 2013
After a career as a television producer for CBS and NBC, Rebecca Teglas graduated from Queens College with a Library Science degree in 2005. Since then, she has been the Head of Children’s Services at the Larchmont Public Library in New York. Westchester Magazine voted the library as Best of Westchester (2012) and said: “Rebecca Teglas is young, energetic, and super enthusiastic about books—and it’s contagious.” She spends her free time reading great books, caring for her infant son, and doing triathlons. We’re thrilled at TCBR to shine the spotlight on Teglas and share her obvious joy of life as a librarian!
Bianca Schulze: Why did you become a librarian?
Rebecca Teglas: Quite simply, I became a librarian to share my love of escaping into books with children. Whether it’s traveling to Narnia or going into the world of the Greek gods through print or ebook, literature is cathartic.
RT: I enjoy readers advisory because it is like a puzzle and a bit like matchmaking. I have the opportunity to find the perfect book for children by asking questions. I also value library programming to allow children to delve into literature more deeply. Book clubs are a great way to take a deeper look into literature. My biggest challenge so far has been my niece. She is dyslexic and has a hard time getting into books. Most recently, I gave her the series The Goddess Girls and there is nothing like the feeling of seeing her walking around the house, almost bumping into things because she can’t put the books down.
BS: Which kids or teen book is the most frequently checked out in your library? Why do you think it is?
RT: Diary of a Wimpy Kid series is never on the shelves, no matter how many copies we buy. The format is accessible and the character, Greg, is so imperfect and funny. The books are like cotton candy for boys and girls alike.
RT: I love the Baby Beebee Bird by Diane Redfield Massie because it’s so interactive. The children enjoy making the noises of the animals and I love turning the programming room into a zoo! I’ve even had precocious children ponder aloud why a nocturnal animal should have to be awake during the day… food for thought, and pretty impressive for four year olds!
BS: Which new releases are you dying to lay your hands on?
RT: Anything the kids are excited about, be it the latest Percy Jackson book or anything by Wendy Mass. I also really love Patricia Reilly Giff because she sees truth in life in her realistic and historical fiction. I also watch the boxes of new books for anything by Linda Sue Park.
BS: What kinds of regular reading events or story time sessions do you host?
RT: We reach out to children ages 3 months-5th grade in the children section and we host programs for all age groups. I love researching and launching new programs. I just had a baby and I realized we need to break the ages of the baby group because the littlest babies need something different from the older ones, so when I return to work from maternity leave, I will launch a program for babies ages 2 months-6 months.
BS: Could you tell us one thing about librarians or libraries that you think would be surprising?
RT: It’s surprising to me how few people know we circulate ebooks. I have an e-reader, and it is so expensive to keep downloading books. Also, some librarians wear fabulous shoes! There is a crazy stereotype that still exists about librarians that we are dowdy. I know a lot of really hip librarians.
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?
RT: Oh, there have been many that are so cute and funny! While I was pregnant, one child asked if she could do my job while I was on maternity leave, and also if she could name my baby. Another kept asking me for a book about “the ex.” It took me a number of questions before I realized she meant Malcolm X.
BS: If you could be any fictional character from children’s literature, who would it be? Why?
RT: Definitely Meg from A Wrinkle in Time. She grows so much as a person, and she gets to go on a fabulous adventure.