Meet Sharon Hrycewicz, Children’s Reference and Technology Coordinator

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Interviews (1)

This month, The Library Adventure is pleased to welcome Sharon Hrycewicz, Children’s Reference and Technology Coordinator at Downers Grove Public Library in Downers Grove, IL. Sharon blogs at Rain Makes Applesauce, and she is part of the team behind  Robot Test Kitchen.

The Library Adventure: Please give a brief description of your current position.

Sharon: I’ve been blessed to work at my current library since January 1997. I am responsible for training children’s services staff in reference work. Most recently, my responsibilities focus on integrating new technologies in the Children’s Services department and making sure departmental staff are trained in these technologies. I also do other library stuff like programming for preschoolers through tweens, collection development, and other duties, as needed.

TLA: Tell us a little bit about the community your library serves.

Sharon: Downers Grove, Illinois is 25 miles directly west of Chicago in northeastern Illinois.  Downers Grove residents love their library.  DG is a great place to raise a family; young professionals will often move to Downers Grove from the city to raise their kids.  Consequently, we have many kids coming to the library with their nannies or grandparents. Downers Grove has a great movie theater that still has a theater organ that is played on weekends.  We are fortunate to have Anderson’s Bookshop in town. Downers Grove is a pretty generous community.  It has homeless shelters three or four times a week for families.  Downers Grove parents want the best for their kids no matter what their financial situation is.    

TLA: What is unique about your library building and/or its collection?

Sharon: We are probably best known for being the library Joyce Saricks worked at when she wrote the book on Reader’s Advisory: Reader’s Advisory Service in the Public Library. And then she wrote the sequel, The Readers’ Advisory Guide to Genre Fiction.  

In the kid’s department, we have Miss Mouse.  She’s our story time mascot.  Miss Mouse has been the mascot for more years than we can remember.  She has her own biography and has a better wardrobe than I do.  A few years ago we had held Project Fashion Mouse, where patrons of all ages competed in a fashion contest.  They won gift cards to an area fabric store and we got more clothes for her. Miss Mouse’s portrait hangs in the new Mouse Café, the new creative play space in our department. We just opened up a new STEM room, a discovery place for grade school kids.  We’re still working on what a STEM room is.  I look forward in seeing what the community does with it.

 A photo collage featuring Sharon and her new library.

A photo collage featuring Sharon and her new library.

TLA: What is the craziest/funniest/strangest thing you have ever seen or experienced on the job?

Sharon: The Day of the Pooptastrophe. A toddler has some serious issues and his grandmother didn’t have a handle on it. The kid left quite a trail behind, back and forth and to and fro. The trail mysteriously stopped and then picked up near the restroom.  If only she had told someone and we didn’t have to discover it ourselves.  It’s become a thing of legend.

TLA: What is one thing you wish library users knew?

Sharon: I sometimes want to tell parents and nannies to hang up their phones and start talking to the kids in their care.  Kids learn vocabulary from the adults in their lives and passive listening to mommy talk doesn’t really count.

Also, I want my library users to know that we like when they ask us questions.  We know the tips and tricks and might have just the thing they’re looking for.  I became a librarian to help people find the material they need. It gives me pleasure to get the right book in a community member’s hand.

TLA: Give a quick plug for a favorite library resource.

Sharon: I’ve been involved with children’s literature since I started working in a children’s bookstore in 1990; and, my library has a pretty amazing reader’s advisor training for department staff.  With that as an introduction, and I think, a pretty vast amount of experience bringing kids and books together, I recommend Novelist.  I use it every single day.  I love showing it to parents to help them find reviews. I use it for finding books in series and I use it to help find read-a-likes.  It’s one of our best tools.

TLA: Thanks so much, Sharon! 

Do you enjoy these interviews? Feel free to suggest questions to ask future interviewees in the comments! 

About Katie Fitzgerald

Katie Fitzgerald holds degrees in English and library science, and has worked in small town and big city libraries, serving both children and teens. You can read her book reviews and posts about story time, picture books, and early literacy at Story Time Secrets. Also follow her blog on Facebook for kidlit quotations, story time suggestions, and interesting links.

Comments

  1. That beautiful yellow den of books is too inviting for words!

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