Getting to Know Us: Marilee, Outreach Librarian

1. In Woody Allen’s short story The Kugelmass Episode, the protagonist discovers a magic cabinet that will allow him to visit his favorite books.  Using this cabinet, which books would you absolutely visit?  which would you avoid?

Maybe I’d go to PEI of Anne of Green Gables fame.  This is a toughie, because I’d not want to end up anywhere with a lack of hygienic indoor plumbing or women’s rights.  Hmmm.  Most fantasy/sci-fi worlds aren’t all that friendly for women, either.  I think I will just learn from the story and avoid the cabinet altogether.

2. If you could be a famous author for a day, who would you choose?  Why?

I wouldn’t want to be a famous author unless I could be totally unrecognizable.  Being famous sounds utterly and completely awful.

3. What is your favorite question to answer at the library?  Least favorite question?

I kind of like the random questions.  The last time we were doing the census, someone called and asked what the penalty was for refusing to answer census questions (up to $100 fine) or lying (up to $500 fine).  I never would have thought to refuse or lie on the census, but there you go.  Least favorite: Where is the restroom?

4. What do you love about working at the library?

First, spending my career working for something that I believe has tremendous value to every member of our community.  Even if you don’t use the library (and you should!  Come check us out!  Get it? Check us out?), the community is stronger, more vibrant, more resilient and humane with a thriving library.  Second, libraries have been a sanctuary to me for many years.  To help provide that for others is a blessing. And finally, you will find no finer colleagues anywhere in the world than I have here.  Add that to the really fine folks who patronize this library, and you can’t beat it with a stick.

5. What book helped you learn to love reading?

Cold Sassy Tree by Olive Ann Burns, the Encyclopedia Brown books, Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen and Bread and Jam for Frances by Russell Hoban. Not in that order, though.

6. If you had to live in a section of the library, which section would you choose?

The cookbooks.  Duh.

7. How many members of your family (including pets) have you named after characters in books?

I have never named anything.  Well, I take that back.  I do have a houseplant called Darcy. I can’t remember, though, if it’s after Mr. Darcy of Pride and Prejudice fame or some other cause. I’ve had Darcy for a long, long time.

8. In order to save the world from the impending apocalypse, all but three novels must be sacrificed to the zombies; which three novels do you save?

So, did we ever determine if The Complete Works of Shakespeare count as a single novel?  ‘Cause if they do, that’s my first choice.  If not, I’d go with Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte, Till We have Faces by C.S. Lewis, and The Collected Works of Wallace Stegner. I know, I know.  Wally never published Collected Works, but if we’re going down in a zombie apocalypse, I’m not choosing between Angle of Repose and All the Little Live Things.

9. What is your favorite quote about books and/or reading?

Si hortum in bibliotheca habes, deerit nihil


Translation: “If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need.”

10. Favorite thing you’ve read this year?

In 2013, Love 2.0 by Barbara Frederickson, or Men We Reaped by Jessmyn Ward

11. Please tell your favorite library puke story.

Nathan has all the good library biohazard stories.  You’re going to have to ask him.  In a former career as a teacher, though, my greatest fear was that one of my students would vomit and I would unavoidably follow suit.  In three years of teaching I only had one student barf in class.  And I had a sub that day.  Ha ha ha.

12. If you were a book, which genre would you be categorized in and why?

I’m gonna go aspirational here. Either 158, where you’ll find many a perspective on the psychology of happiness because that’s what I want out of life–just a resilient, unconquerable, quiet happiness.  Or 811 Ol4, for if my life could have the grace and wonder of a Mary Oliver poem, I would consider it well-lived.


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