Senior Children's Librarian, Barbara Byrn-Goldie, is a life-long New Yorker and it shows. Her energy and enthusiasm telegraph the warm welcome anyone will receive when they visit the New Dorp Branch of the New York Public Library in Staten Island. She has spent 17 of her 20 years with NYPL at three incarnations of the New Dorp branch—in the older 1970s branch, the tiny interim storefront, and the current post-renovated site. Ask anyone walking down New Dorp Lane, this community's main street, and you will hear all about how the library provided comfort and relief during the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy and the recognition it received with a NYC Neighborhood Libraries Award.
You get to see everything hot off the presses. What are some recently published titles that you have been promoting with your young library users?
Well, Battle Bunny, with its edgy sense of humor, has really captured our imaginations. Jon Scieszka and Max Barnett have outdone themselves with this one and I know kids from six to sixty will get the joke. S.W.I.T.C.H.: Spider Stampede by Ali Sparks—what's not to like? Twins turned in to spiders by a mad scientist! Whiskers, Tails and Wings: Animal Folk Tales from Mexico is wonderful and I am enjoying sharing with our many Library users from Mexico. Jack Prelutsky knows just how to tickle funny bones, so Sardines Swim High Across the Sky and Other Poems... Frog Song by Brenda Guiberson is filled with interesting frog facts and great photographs. I've collected over 63 pieces of frog folk art as a hobby—ribbit!
What books are some books the children of New Dorp are taslking about?
Rick Riordan's Kane Chronicles, Heroes of Olympus, and Percy Jackson and the Olympians series not only fly off the shelves but introduce our young patrons to the whole array of Greek and Egyptian gods. The goofy humor in Jeff Kinney's Diary of a Wimpy Kid series keep those books in high demand as well. Our younger readers are enjoying Ted Arnold's Fly Guy series, Pete the Cat books by Eric Litwin and Mo Willems' An Elephant & Piggy Book series. Traditional favorites such as Caps for Sale by Esphyr Slobodkina and Eric Carle's The Very Hungry Caterpillar are always among our top circulating books.
You have been a children's librarian for quite a while now. What do you find so appealing about this profession?
The work is multifaceted... like a gemstone. I especially enjoy the laughter of children—from giggles to real belly laughs! I love to inspire their laughter through reading books aloud, telling stories as I draw and cut paper, or when I lead everyone in song or play. It is hard for anyone to sit still when singing "Zoom, Zoom, Zoom, We're going to the Moon" or when dancing the "T-Rex Hokey Pokey." I also love the spontaneous hugs or excited waves I receive from children who recognize me when I visit their schools. I enjoy being a proactive community helper—networking with the New Dorp community. Parents and caregivers, especially new immigrants, are genuinely grateful for my assistance in putting the right books into the hands of their children. Poetry and other writing workshops along with costume & pajama nights keep my creative juices flowing as well.
It has been a unique experience for me, watching children who attended my baby, toddler and preschool programs come-of-age. Some of our regulars eventually become valued volunteers, and NYPL Pages. I was even invited to one of their weddings! I've had a long positive relationship with this community.
You will not be surprised to learn that Barbra received a New York Times Librarian Award in 2001!
For more information about the role New Dorp and other libraries around the city responded to the needs of their communities in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, take a look at Joel Rose's report—"For Disaster Preparedness: Pack A Library Card?"