Welcome to Library Lions interviews. Author Maureen McQuerry has stopped by to share her newest book and her Library Love. Take it away Maureen!
I write YA and MG novels that have a mythical bent. If someone were to ask me what my books have in common, I might say this: they end up wandering into the mythic woods. Even though the times and settings and premises are very different, there’s always a touch of magical realism
For many years I taught high and middle school and worked closely with librarians who spend their days championing reading. And I’ve discovered that there’s a library in each of my books! I didn’t plan that out and it took a reader to point it out to me!
The Peculiars features Mr. Beasley’s amazing library in Zephyr house based on the real library of J.S. Walker
In Beyond the Door, one of the main characters Julian, is a mild mannered librarian by day but something quite different in another guise (no spoilers here!) My current WIP progress features the awesome Seattle library as the future headquarters for the Intelligence community. Libraries must run very deep in my subconscious.
Book Launch Event for Beyond the Door with Morris Dancers
Library Love When You Were a Cub
Libraries were places of refuge for me. I loved the smell when I walked in the door. I loved the quiet. I loved the fact that I could leave with an armload of books and live in different places through different characters until my books were overdue. And they always were. But there was one special librarian who always greeted me with a smile and waived the fee. He loved to talk to me about what I was reading.
More Library Love
The librarians I know and visit with today work hard to spread the love of reading to all students. One of my favorite author events is Cavalcade of Authors. Librarian Michelle Lane organizes an event that allows 1,000 students to spend the day with 16 authors and attend outstanding workshops.
A Lion’s Pride of Programs
I visit schools where libraries are the heart of the school, place students go to connect with books and with each other, to talk about ideas, and explore subjects that interest them. Reduced funding for libraries means limiting students’ chances to imagine, explore, learn and connect.
Recently I asked several groups of middle school students how they choose the next book they want to read. The most common answer? My librarian.
School librarians know the latest titles but more importantly, they know their students and can make recommendations on based on a student’s interest. Often school librarians are the ones who alert teachers about my books and invite me to come and share.
Students are my favorite audience. They ask the best questions. One of my favorite activities with students is taking an idea and then extending it by asking what if just like authors do. I offer workshops on creating conflict and tension, and story structure and character arcs.
Hooray for ALA!
ALA 2013 in Anaheim was a chance to meet hundreds of librarians face to face, sign books and thanks them for what they do for authors, teachers and students.
Thank you, Maureen, for your terrific interview!
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Note to Librarians: If you’re a Youth Librarian working in a school or public library we’d love to hear about you and your library. Contact Janet at firstname.lastname@example.org for an interview slot.