Beth, Derek, & Christina

Get to Know: JPL’s Programming Librarians

Beth, Derek, & Christina

Beth, Derek, and Christina

Our Library has three Programming Librarians, Christina Matakel-Gibson (Childrens), Beth Snow (Teens) and Derek Moser (Adults).  In these positions, they are responsible for  planning and executing various programs, services, and outreach for our community.  To get to know them and their positions better, we sat down for an interview.

What is something about the Library people don’t know?

Christina: The Library is a Family Place Library, a national network of libraries focused on the parent or caregiver’s role in their child’s development, specifically their early literacy development, ages 0-5.  As a part of our connection to Family Place Libraries, we place a lot of emphasis on programs for that age group and on family engagement and prioritizing the parent or caregiver as the child’s most important teacher. 

Derek: Most of the databases we offer here at the Library, that you can come in and make use of, you can also use at home, using your library card.  We have a lot of different resources, that either through creating a profile, or using your card and your pin, you can access. 

Beth: Most people I meet think that Teen Services is mainly about connecting middle school and high school students with books or resources and offering recreational activities or study space.  It is–and it’s so much more!  The Teen Department offers a safe space, free of judgment for teens to grow, to explore, to deal, to connect, or to just “be”.  Building relationships is the foundation, the bulk of what happens here.  Actively listening to, chatting with, meeting teens on their own terms is so much of what we do and usually happens in a low-key fashion.  Teens want to be seen and heard, and we provide them opportunities.  Teen Services can be as incredible, beautiful, heart-breaking, messy, and glorious as adolescence itself!

As programming librarians, what’s your favorite program?

Derek: Storytime, that’s my favorite, and Book Swap! I love how both programs provide an interactive component, which really allows for reading to become active, versus merely passive. It’s something we can share as a community. 

Christina: Yes, Storytime! It’s a great opportunity to connect to families, and for families to connect with each other, it’s a great opportunity to model early literacy practices, and it’s also just really fun.

Beth: Anime/Manga Club is also so much fun!  It’s a monthly gathering of teens who are fans of Japanese animated cartoons and comics.  We watch a few anime episodes, draw, chat about favorite titles, and offer an additional craft or activity–also snacks.  Anime and manga fans are very passionate about their interests, so there’s often lively debate.  It’s a great time to hang out and socialize!  We’ve been on a brief hiatus and will be gearing up again during summer reading.


Did you always want to be a librarian?

Derek: I wanted to be a garbage man. I saw this episode of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles where some garbage men met the turtles in a sewer, and I knew, right there in that moment, exactly what I was destined for.

Christina: I did always want to be a librarian, or a famous author.  I used to play library and checked out books to my stuffed animals.

Do you prefer print Books, ebooks, or audiobooks?

Beth: Until several years ago, it was print all the way.  Then I had some root canals and discovered the awesome power of the audiobook to drown out the dentist’s drill.  I find graphic novels and comics are great to read as ebooks using the Libby app or Comics Plus, a new electronic resource we offer.  Although there’s nothing like holding and turning pages of a print book, these ebook services can show graphic novels in a full, two-page spread without a gutter (the crease in the middle where the pages are attached to the book’s spine).  I enjoy being able to see the art flat on the screen, uninterrupted, even though 95% of the time the art and text in print isn’t compromised.  

Christina: I prefer print books, but I agree with Beth.   


What do you hope to accomplish in the next year?

Christina: Putting on a fun and successful summer reading program (coming May 31st!)

Beth: Yes, summer reading!