A Librarian Is Worth 1,000 Blogs, or A Love Letter

Something that bears mentioning: we have the greatest children's librarian in the history of the world.

Her name is Rebbecca, and she works at the Jefferson Market Library in New York City. Here. Or maybe I shouldn't say she works there, maybe I should say she rules over the children's room? Presides? It's like she's the fairy godmother of the children's room. You will be standing there with your just-started-reading-chapter books child, searching fruitlessly (and maybe without much grace or patience) for book number 3 in the Magic Treehouse series, because that is the series that makes people able to read chapter books with pride. The child is despairing, you are saying that it's the same to read number 4, they're not a linear series, OK? God!, the child is trying not to cry when—cue magical noise. Rebbecca appears next to you. You, she ignores more or less. But the child? She pays the most focused, thoughtful, and serious attention to the child. Then she scans the shelves, and vanishes downstairs, then reappears with number 3 in her hand. And 4 and 5 as well. No judgment, no stress, just kind and heartfelt help.

But that's not all.

She does this for everyone. Really. Every family—and that's a lot of families, this is a library in the middle of New York City—seems to know her by name, and she seems to know all of them. How is that possible? Also: she never talks to kids in a cutesy voice. And she takes them all seriously. And she remembers their literary taste, offering up books out of nowhere, then doesn't care at all if those books are rejected.

Also: we went there looking for Gone Away Lake. And it turned out that someone else had checked it out. But does that mean she comes back and says, "Sorry, we don't have it."? No, it means she comes back with this:


And then you get to watch your child look seriously through the stack for the two to take home. Do we have to re-shelve them? "Oh no, just leave what you don't want there."

Ronia was chosen. And LOVED.

Rebbecca is the best librarian in the world. I mean, we try and all with We Recommend and such, but this? This is the real thing.

9 thoughts on “A Librarian Is Worth 1,000 Blogs, or A Love Letter

  1. Oh! Jefferson Market was my old, beloved library before the move to Brooklyn. I loved, loved, loved every trip I made there, but they all predated kids, so I didn’t get to meet Rebecca. But I can see that bringing a child to that castle of a library would have been a treat. You make the trip often enough for her to be your librarian.


  2. that made me tear up. i love to hear about people who put their hearts in the jobs. she sounds wonderful. we have the WORST school librarian in the world and now my kids are scared of librarians!


  3. I just got Strawberry Hill, Thimble Summer, and Gone Away Lake for my 7 yr old, based on this photo. We’re reading Strawberry Hill, and she LOVES it. Thank you.


  4. Great librarians are a godsend. I spent two semesters on my way to becoming a children’s librarian and still think fondly about the idea of pursuing that. We were recently at the library, and the woman we usually deal with (I think an assistant librarian of some kind) was shelving, and another person was at the desk. We requested the first “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” book, and our “usual” lady called from across the room, “Better put them all on hold for him. He’ll get through the first one in way less than a week.” It was a small moment at our small library, but there was something so wonderful in that comment, knowing that our weekly trips to the library (which only started about a year ago) have menat something to her too, that she actually remembers us and our reading habits. Great librarians are worth their weight in gold!


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