New Column: Ask A Librarian

Anonymous  //  Apr 11, 2024

New Column: Ask A Librarian

Greeting fellow readers, and happy School Library Month!

In celebration of our hard working colleagues throughout the country, we would like to share the joy and the power of librarianship as practiced by our own in-house library team, with a brand new Ask a Librarian column. Each month the Scholastic librarians will respond to questions about librarianship and fostering a lifelong love of reading. You may not know about it, yet, but The Scholastic Library & Archive is an essential unit of the organization, responsible for the historic archive – with everything Scholastic has published going back to 1920 – and providing readers advisory, reference, and research resources to our colleagues – who are also our patrons! 

There are four librarians on our team, and we also have interns and freelancers when we get super busy. Let’s meet them:

Chelsea Fritz MMS, MSLIS

Every week, dozens of boxes arrive at Scholastic headquarters for the archive and they contain two copies of everything published –from original trade publications like Dog Man to catalogs and Scholastic Book Club flyers. Most of these materials pass through Chelsea’s hands as she catalogs them for the archive collection. She also answers reference questions and contributes to social media. Chelsea has a BA, a Masters in Museum Studies and Masters in Library Science. She loves animals and is a dog-mom to three.

Tim Eklund MLIS

While Tim is also an excellent original cataloger, like Chelsea, he is also a low-key archival detective. Some of the most fun questions involve digging into the historic magazine collection for articles and covers published during the last 100 years. We really do learn something new every day! Additionally, Tim devotes time to preparing Scholastic materials for long-term storage. One copy of each book, flyer, magazine, or catalog is preserved in a climate controlled offsite location. For that to work we have to be meticulous about keeping track of it all, and Tim excels at this. 

Karen Van Rossem, MLS

Karen is the backbone of the team, trained as a mild-mannered news librarian, able to answer pretty much any reference question three times as fast as the rest of us combined. Everything we need to know about databases, interlibrary loan, vendors, and budgets, we learned from her. One time, a patron-colleague approached Tim-Deimosa-Chelsea at the reference desk and asked for “the main librarian”, which was funny because it is true. We asked if we could help, and they said no, which we still laugh about. 

Deimosa Webber-Bey MSEd, MSLIS

As Director of Information Services, Deimosa oversees every part of the library’s day to day operations. She leads the team while still finding time to do her own hands-on work as both a technical services and reference librarian. She is never without a few irons in the fire but she always seems to find a few minutes for a Scholastic employee that is in need of a good librarian. Deimosa was formerly a public school teacher and a public librarian and if you ever wanted to talk about graphic novels or quilting, look no further.

Ask a Librarian

For this first column, we thought we’d answer the question: What are the MOST checked out books in the Scholastic library? And rather than quote circulation statistics, here are some qualitative observations from our colleagues:

  • The Storyteller’s Sourcebook might be THE most beat up book in the library. It is held together with a rubber band. The subtitle of the book explains just how essential it is for reference librarians who answer questions for editors at a children’s publisher: “A Subject, Title, and Motif Index to Folklore Collections for Children.”

  • I’ll Give You The Sun has the most worn-out dust jacket that we can think of in the library’s browsing collection of award winning children’s literature. This book went to Thailand and back once, which we now use as a talking point during readers advisory. We may also mention that it won both a Stonewall and a Printz from ALA.

  • Clifford the Big Red Dog – Possibly the most well known title from Scholastic, Clifford is always a go-to item for content that is commemorating the legacy of our company. Our various editions of the original Clifford the Big Red Dog have been taken out, returned, lost, and (thankfully) replaced more than any other long-running Scholastic property and we don’t see this changing anytime soon.

  • The Baby-sitters Club – EVERYTHING – the books, the posters, the postcards, the calendars, the VHS tapes, the first time it appeared in a book club flyer… our patrons want it all. And so do we, we love the BSC. These books hold up over time – both the content, and the volumes that carry it. Each paperback has circulated since it was cataloged, no matter the edition. Which is cool. 

  • Chicago Manual of Style - Of all the handy digital services that are offered by the library, the one that Scholastic’s editors can’t seem to live without is the Chicago Manual of Style. We know this because anytime the site is experiencing problems such as server errors, we are always alerted by at least one concerned editor with a deadline to make. 

In addition to circulating materials and answering reference questions, the library team catalogs, digitizes, archives, teaches, consults, and also leads presentations, tours and trainings. Each division of the company has unique needs, and each colleague has unique reading interests. We answer questions on the fly, and also devote weeks and months (sometimes YEARS) to special projects. Librarianship is a rewarding experience for us, even on the hard days.

We are excited to answer your queries and reinforce Scholastic’s LOVE for librarians. What questions do you have for us?