Libraries—most towns have them, and inside you will find oh-so-many interesting things. But wait, what was that you hear—singing, instruments, contagious giggles—oh my, what luck, it’s story time at the Broadmoor Branch Library! With great thanks to a fabulous staff of librarians, our community of young families has the privilege of not only listening to great stories but truly interacting with all types of books.
Shreve Memorial Library has 22 libraries in Caddo Parish including the Mobile Library. There, you will find wonderfully helpful staff providing wonderfully helpful resources, and best of all it’s free. Not only is it in your neighborhood, it could even be the beginning of your electronic device detox! Way to throw a curveball, huh?!!! Even if you don’t have kids as an incentive to begin your challenge, let this be a moment of quiet consideration.
Now, on to two fantastic, amazing, knock-your-socks-off, get-up-and-dance children’s librarians. They are beyond fun, friendly, talented, and engaging and they are getting kids of all ages interested in reading. Miss Cookie & Mr. Adrian are the real deal and they are on a mission—you have been warned. They leave a lasting impression on their audience, inspiring children to love their local library!
WHY DID YOU DECIDE TO BECOME A CHILDREN’S LIBRARIAN?
Miss Cookie: Since Kindergarten, all I have ever wanted to be was a librarian. I shared a birthday with the school librarian at Sunset Acres Elementary, and I always thought she was the coolest person who knew all the best books! So, for the love of books was my first reason, but in 11 years of working here, I would have to say the crazy, fun things we get to do for the community is why I want to make it my career.
Mr. Adrian: To get rich. Slowly. Very Slowly.
WHAT IMPACT ARE YOU TRYING TO MAKE?
C: I want to keep libraries relevant! Community needs have changed drastically since we started and we should always be pursuing and meeting those needs. In the national landscape, I think Shreve Memorial is doing an excellent job staying updated, and I hope to personally make everyone aware of the services we provide for free to every citizen. That’s the great thing about libraries—they are for everyone!
A: I want people to know they have purpose. And I want to help connect them to the
resources and information they need in order to reach their goals.
WHY IS IT SO IMPORTANT TO INSPIRE YOUNG MINDS?
C: Helping kids and teens find the right book for them is imperative for academic excellence! Literacy is the first and best skill students need in order to succeed. I have heard children tell me many times that they “hate reading.” This is a problem easily solved by finding the right book. Readers’ Advisory is one of my favorite duties and my team always works together to find options for each child to turn them into lifelong readers.
A: They are our future. If we fail our children, then we fail our future. If we want Shreveport and Caddo Parish to be successful, then we must give children the tools they need to be successful.
WHAT DO YOU HOPE KIDS SAY ABOUT YOU TO THEIR FAMILY, TEACHERS, OR FRIENDS AFTER A STORY TIME OR RELATED ACTIVITY?
C: I always hope that my story time theme becomes a fixation and that they decide to explore that topic. For this reason, I try to incorporate Nonfiction into my story time more and more. With my teen group, I know they always talk about how much fun they have in programs, but I hope they also always feel safe and welcome in the library.
A: “I can’t wait for story time,” or “Is it story time today?” I just want them to be excited about coming back to the library.
DO YOU HAVE ANY FUNNY MEMORIES OF KIDS SAYING THE “DARNEDEST THINGS” TO YOU?
C: One of my favorite Field Trip groups comes to the library twice a month with around 70 toddlers. I always try to greet each kid at the door with a hello, wave, or high five. They are always lined up and so well behaved, saying “Hey, Miss Cookie!” But this one time, the last little boy in line casually greets me with “’Sup, lil’ Cookie.” Absolutely adorable!!
A: Anytime you ask a group of kids if they have a pet, there’s at least one who loves to tell about how they had a pet. But for “whatever reason,” they no longer do. It’s a story I often interrupt and the grown-ups in the room always laugh. Crisis averted. Storytime will go on.
PLEASE RECOMMEND SOME FAVORITE SUMMERTIME BOOKS?
C: Kate Beaton is one of my favorite picture book authors; she wrote “Princess and the Pony.” Her books are great for young children under age six. I always enjoyed bedtime stories where we read a chapter or two a night together; “Ollie’s Odyssey” and “The Guardians” book series by Bill Joyce are excellent for evening reading! And, I will forever recommend my favorite book from childhood, “Hatchet” by Gary Paulsen. It’s a survival story about northern wilderness suitable for 5th grade or higher. For teens and adults, the summer is a great time for a thriller and my absolute favorite is the “Escape From Furnace” series by Alexander Gordon Smith. It’s a dystopian book about an underground prison for teen offenders; scary but so good!
A: Three books: Bounce, Wiggle, and Stretch all by Doreen Cronin. Growing up, I was always the kid who could never stay still, so obviously, I loved summer vacation. These are some of my go-to books for story time when I want to get kids up and moving. They’re interactive and great for toddlers up to Kindergarten.
YOUR FAVORITE PLACES IN SHREVEPORT OR CLOSE SURROUNDING AREAS TO READ A BOOK.
C: Without a doubt, downtown Shreveport! Any bench outside the Courthouse or Bon Temps patio if I want a coffee!
A: I love spending an afternoon with some nonfiction on or near the water. Ford Park, Richard Fleming Park, or a nice shady spot between Clyde Fant and The Red are my favorites.
DO YOU HAVE ANY SPECIAL TALENTS OR HOBBIES THAT HELP YOU ENGAGE KIDS IN YOUR CHILDREN’S PROGRAMS?
C: Being artistic is probably my best skill for programming! I love to draw, paint, and just create. I have worked on countless displays to promote books or programs and I love to make flannel boards for story telling. My favorite medium is cardboard; I love to build with it! When you come to the children’s department at Broadmoor, my giant 8.5-foot Lego mini-fig named LeRoy, the Lego Librarian, greets you. It took a lot of cardboard to make him!
A: I play quite a few musical instruments, which definitely come in handy when working with children. My ukulele is my trusty sidekick for pretty much every story time. I’m a big fan of Music Education and try to slip in some musical tidbits from time to time.
FAVORITE PLACE TO THINK/CREATE/REENERGIZE/DREAM
C: Downtown Shreveport is my favorite place to think and reenergize! I love to bring my sketchbook to work out ideas for fashion design. There’s just something relaxing about the white noise of traffic.
A: Outside. A nice shady spot in the woods or near the water always does the trick.
C: “Much madness is divinest sense” by Emily Dickinson. I love this poem and the meaning behind feeling misunderstood but knowing what is right for you.
A: “He who reigns within himself and rules his passions, desires, and fears is more than a king.” –John Milton
FAVORITE CITY STREET
C: Texas Street or Marshall Street in Downtown Shreveport; I have a lot of nostalgic feelings for downtown in general. As a teen, I spent a lot of time at 516 Soundstage on Texas, but when I was homeless as a teen, I slept outside a lot of businesses on Marshall St. and am really grateful for the refuge and kindness I was shown.
A: Lakeshore Drive. I love the drive around Cross Lake. It’s a great thinkin’ route.
WHAT ATTRIBUTES ARE NEEDED TO TURN A DREAM INTO REAL SUCCESS?
C: Perseverance! I know that my consistent hard work over the past 11 years is what led to me being promoted to my current position.
A: Determination: Life is tough sometimes so you have to be strong-willed. If you really want to turn your dreams into real success, you have to stop making excuses and simply give it your very best shot every day.
Community: As I said before, life is tough sometimes and there’s no need for us to go it alone. Find people who can help you; people who can share in your success and lend a hand in your failure.
WHAT DOES OUR YOUNGER GENERATION NEED TO KNOW TO FIND THEIR TRUE CALLING?
C: Knowing what you like and are good at is important. It’s just as important to know what you don’t like and aren’t good at. While you may not always be able to avoid the things you don’t like, doing them for something you feel strongly about makes it easier. For me, I make a terrible salesman! While we give our services for free, I still have to “sell” kids and parents on certain books sometimes.
A: Sometimes, your calling doesn’t always look like you thought. There may be some changes in life that redirect your course a little. And that’s okay. Keep your dreams in mind, but don’t be afraid to accept change when it comes.
HOW DO YOU DEFINE HAPPINESS AND FULFILLMENT?
C: Consider what gave you joy when you were younger. For me, it was being creative, and I have definitely used that skill to create new opportunities for myself in my job.
A: I think knowing that you’re doing something worthwhile and meaningful for someone is pretty fulfilling. I think happiness comes from having peace.
DO YOU HAVE OTHER ADVICE TO IMPART TO THE GENERATION GOING INTO COLLEGE OR ENTERING THE WORK FORCE
C: Head right out of the gate running! Being fresh and new to a job is an asset for you in any workplace. Use your enthusiasm to affect change when you see the opportunity, and explore how your job can grow to suit your workplace, customers, and your needs.
A: No matter what degree, certification, or career path you choose, you will have to put in effort. Even after the studies and the tests, you must put that knowledge to work. Don’t be lazy. Do everything to your very best.
OTHER WORDS OF WISDOM THAT MAY POSITIVELY AFFECT OUR COMMUNITY, ESPECIALLY THOSE WHO ARE NEXT IN LINE TO MAKE SHREVEPORT A PROUD PLACE TO CALL HOME.
C: While I am inherently a loner who loves nothing more than to work diligently and independently, I have been recently enjoying the great benefits of networking. I think it’s very important that those who wish to affect change or be recognized for their unique skills get out to local events and meet new people.
A: Don’t give negativity any room. You keep doing what you do to make Shreveport the place you want it to be. This is our home. Let’s make it the very best that we can.
HOW CAN SHREVEPORT ESTABLISH ITSELF AS A BEST SOUTHERN PLACE TO WORK, PLAY, AND RAISE A FAMILY?
C: I would love for Downtown Shreveport to be totally revitalized!
A: Opportunity. Opportunity gives people choice. It’s an incredibly empowering thing when a person can freely choose for him/herself. From schools and homes to jobs, let’s give people plenty of good options to choose from in Shreveport.