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Thursday, July 26, 2012

Meet a Librarian--Patti Blount

Patti Blount is the director at the Durand Community Library, one of the few public/school combination libraries in the state.


How long have you been at the Durand Public Library?  What did you do before that?  I have been director of the Durand Public Library for 20 years as of this past January.   I found this job in my senior year at UW-Green Bay.   During my college years, I had a wide variety of jobs: research verifier for a professor who was working on his PhD, street cleaner at Six Flags Great America…

Can you tell us about one really memorable interaction you had with a young person?  My Dad would hire me to help him when I was in middle and high school to help him with his summer school classes.    During that time,  I learned the five finger method when picking out books—I still use it with kids today.  When picking out a book, start reading it, and each time you stumble on a word one finger goes down.  If you make it through the book without your fingers being closed, then you know you found a book that you can read.  If you see some of the fingers down then it shows how challenging the book is for you.

You go to the Midwest Booksellers Association conference every year—what do you like so much about it?  Why might a children’s librarian want to attend?  I enjoying going to the Midwest Booksellers conference because I learn so much from all of the bookstores/ booksellers.   I go to workshops for one day and we discuss upcoming trends in the industry, how to host author events, how to do displays.    I enjoy meeting all of the authors and illustrators at the convention that you read about but have never met.   
A children’s librarian would enjoy the conference to see what is available in the upcoming year and to be able to talk to authors on a one-to-one level. Another fun thing that happens each year when we go to convention is the authors that you have met there over the years will sometimes remember you by first name and will come up and say Hi– a great-feeling moment.

What is the best thing about sharing library space with the school?  Shared technology and extended hours to the public.

What is one thing about your job that is most challenging?   The most challenging part of the job is the office manager jobs that I have do behind the scenes – organize papers, file information, keep tabs or ahead on budget and deadlines.  Another challenging is facing change.  Everyone says that I’m very adaptable to technology as it changes..but most of the time it freaks me out for a while until I get use to it.

What’s a book you’ve read recently that you really loved, and why? Chasing Lincoln’s Killer by James Swanson.   Being an avid movie buff, I always enjoy reading and/or listening to the audiobooks of stories that will be coming to movie theaters.   When I heard the movie: Manhunt: The 12-Day Chase For Lincoln’s Killer was coming to theaters later this year, I really wanted to read the book.   Unfortunately the original book was always checked out, so I read the young adult version: Chasing Lincoln’s Killer.  It was very interesting to get into the mind of the people on the manhunt and hoping that they would catch up to John Wilkes Booth.   There was a lot of interesting information I learned about the time period and the area that they were chasing him.

Tell us about an especially wonderful program—give us enough detail that someone might be able to recreate it!   Our Make & Take program (ages 5-10) is a program that I proud of because it gives kids a chance to do something when they “graduate” out of our Storytime program (ages 3-5).   Children come and listen to stories, watch a movie and make a craft.   We always look at the Handy Craft and Guildcraft catalogs to see what simple craft can be done with the kids.   Also, I check out the craft kits at Michaels and JoAnn stores.   Most of the time we have our student workers conduct the crafts.   We have tried to do the Make & Take on school breaks but it doesn’t bring in the crowd like the summer.   The kids who have been to the program know and always come back almost every year just to participate.

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