My Librarian: Meet Joe
Recommends: Award-winning Youth Literature, Youth Nonfiction & Biographies, & Middle Grade Literature
When I was in fourth grade, I announced my future career at the dinner table: I wanted to be a professional tourist.
I was informed that this was not a career and therefore not an option. It was 1986. Instagram travel influencers didn’t exist then. Now I am demographically too old for such shenanigans, and I largely despise social media, so this dream of mine will never be fulfilled. At least until retirement.
Still, I loved traveling as a kid and experienced most, if not all, of my adventures through books. I was and still am a voracious reader, a hobby that led me to become a 7th grade English teacher. After 8 years in the classroom, I received my MLIS and transitioned to becoming a school librarian in Pittsburgh, PA. While I was a school librarian, I also taught as an adjunct instructor at the University of Pittsburgh, teaching or co-teaching courses in children’s literature & resources, young adult literature & resources, multicultural literature & resources, and storytelling. After a decade in Pittsburgh, I moved to northwest Ohio and became an academic librarian in a university’s education library, where I principally was responsible for curating the large children’s and young adult collection, working with pre-service educators, and teaching an honors course in children’s & young adult literature awards. I also ran mock Caldecott, Newbery, and Printz awards programs at the university, which was a ton of fun!
I’m active in ALSC (Association for Library Service to Children) and YALSA (Young Adult Library Services Association), serving on numerous committees including the 2020 YALSA Excellence in Nonfiction Award Committee, the 2022 Sibert Award Committee, and the 2024 Odyssey Award Committee. I was also a member of the 2021 Walter Awards Committee, administered by We Need Diverse Books.
I love children’s and young adult nonfiction and biographies, books written for middle schoolers (17 years as a middle school teacher might have something to do with that), folktales and fairytales, picture books, and thrillers (pretty much the only genre for adults I read). I look forward to helping you find your next great read!