As director of a small public library, Nathalie Harty gets into the nitty-gritty every day, whether helping patrons download e-books onto a tablet or creating a wish-list of books to buy. With a staff of six, the Langley-Adams Public Library remains an information hub for Groveland and is busier than ever, with thriving programs and new technology.
What are the most popular books being checked out at your library?
Books mentioned by Oprah and media outlets such as National Public Radio. Right now, we can't keep the novel "Gone Girl" by Gillian Flynn on the shelf. Another popular novel is "The Good House" by Anne Leary, which is set on the North Shore. We have also had to purchase multiple copies of "Francona: The Red Sox Years" by Terry Francona and Dan Shaughnessy.
What are the most common type of reference questions?
It's a toss up between high schoolers working on research papers and genealogy questions from adults.
Is the Dewey Decimal System still relevant?
I have mixed feelings about this. Most small and medium public libraries still use this classification system, since it's a great way to organize and catalog collections. But the Dewey Decimal System is not necessarily easy for our patrons.
How did you decide to become a librarian?
I didn't become a bookworm until I was in middle school when I discovered romance novels. Later, my college library inspired me. I was supposed to be studying, but instead wandered the aisles, amazed at the book and journal collections. I did some volunteering at the Chelmsford Public Library and was immediately hooked. The rest is history.
What are reader's response to controversial books, like "Fifty Shades of Grey" by E L James?
We carry the "Fifty Shades" trilogy. I didn't know anything about it until patrons starting coming in asking for it and really talking it up. So I ordered the series in regular print, large print, and audio. To date, we have not had any formal complaints.
What's one of your all-time favorite books and why?
I have many favorites, but I love 19th-century novels. Jane Austen's "Pride and Prejudice" is close to the top. I've lost count of how many times I've read it.
How many books do you have at home?
I don't have many books at home any more. I used to own scores and scores, but I donated most of them and now borrow books from libraries. One caveat: If I borrow the same library book more than twice, I buy a copy for home.
Cindy Atoji Keene can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.