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News, Children and Parents: Meet John Edward Peters, Supervising Librarian of the Children's Center at 42nd Street

August 3, 2009

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I am told that I was a “book” person before I was toilet trained. Armed with a BA from the University of Denver and an MS (with an informal specialty in Rare Books Librarianship) from Columbia University’s late, lamented School of Library Service, I spent four years working for various rare book dealers before starting in 1977 as (of all things!) a children’s librarian at the Brooklyn Public Library. Moving on to The New York Public Library in the same capacity in 1980, I worked in branches in the Bronx and in Manhattan — culminating in a move to the (then) Central Children’s Room at the Donnell Library Center in 1998. I became that awesome and historic collection’s Supervising Librarian in 2004, and four years later moved with it to the (then) History and Social Sciences Library (now the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building).

An active member of the American Library Association for my entire career, I have had the privilege of chairing or serving on Newbery, Caldecott, and most other ALA children’s award and booklist committees. Over the past 20+ years I have also published articles, columns, and thousands of book reviews in professional journals.

It’s all good.

What are your favorite books?
Oddly enough, I find most of my favorite reading in children's books. I'd hold The Wind in the Willows, Philip Pullman's The Golden Compass, and Barbara Kerley's Songs of Papa's Island up to any "adult" books.

Who are your favorite musical artists?
I go for singer/songwriters: Bob Dylan, Tracy Grammer, Patty Griffin, Bruce Springsteen

What are your favorite movies?
The Harry Potter Series, anything by Hayao Miyazaki, The Star Wars Series

Why do you love the Library?
It's a great place to work, because so many members of the staff are both smart and dedicated, and our jobs are all about helping people.

What are you currently working on?
As the Supervising Librarian of a unit that only opened last November, I'm still spending all of my time and energy fine-tuning the collections and services that we offer, and working to make the Children's Center at 42nd Street a place where people will want to come, and can count on not going away empty handed.