AUTHOR JIM WHITING ROARS FOR LIBRARIES
Welcome to Library Lions interviews Raising a Roar for libraries and the outstanding librarians serving youth in schools and public libraries across the U.S. Author, Jim Whiting
joins us today to Roar for Libraries from an Author’s perspective. Welcome, Jim!
First what’s your Roar for Libraries?
I admire librarians for their dedication to their jobs and the amount of work they do for wages that are nowhere near commensurate with their contributions to society.
The Skinny: Thanks for the first Roar. I know you have more below, but before we go there, can you tell us something about yourself and your work?
In previous lifetimes, I published Northwest Runner magazine for 17 years, advised a high school newspaper, wrote the first piece of original fiction in Runner’s World magazine, generated a lot of stuff for America Online in the days when AOL was relevant, served as sports editor a couple of times for our local newspaper, cranked out hundreds of freelance articles for newspapers and magazines, even journeyed to Antarctica where I was the official photographer for the Antarctica Marathon.
(I thought I’d pop in the cover of your history of Antarctic Exploration book here Jim)
Now, in addition to writing and editing (which was actually how I broke into KidLit), I coach middle school running on Bainbridge. What was originally a fall competitive team has spun off into several additional programs that span all four seasons.
Library Love When You Were A Cub:
Because our public library was right across the street from my elementary school, we often took mini-field trips there. I loved to browse through the stacks, always finding treasures that I would take to the reading tables and read happily until it was time to go back to school.
I am blessed to live in an area served by the Kitsap Regional Library, which encompasses eight branches in addition to my home library on Bainbridge Island. Because I write nonfiction, I am continually doing research. While I scour the Internet, I grew up without it and my first loyalty is to books. Our system almost always seems to have plenty of materials on whatever subject I happen to be writing about.
I’m appalled, on several levels. First, as mentioned above, since I am so dependent on KRL for research, funding cuts threaten my livelihood by reducing the amount of research materials that may be available on a given topic.
Second, it’s well-documented that this country is continually falling behind in educational achievements. Shrinking library budgets mean cutbacks in hours that libraries are open and therefore available for patrons, as well as reductions in the ability of libraries to maintain their inventory and keep it up to date.
A Lion’s Pride of Programs:
Since I spend most of my workdays in front of a computer with impending deadlines spurring me on, it’s easy to forget that there are real flesh and blood readers out there. It’s a huge boost to stand in front of a classroom or an assembly with several hundred kids and bask in their warmth and affection. It’s also fun to go into classrooms and interact with smaller groups. I will always remember two second grade girls who hugged each other when I read a couple of selections from a series of scary stories.
Let’s Link Up:
Learn more about Jim Whiting and his work on his website: http://www.jimwhiting.com
Note to Librarians: If you’re a Youth Librarian working in a school or public library we’d love to hear about you and your library. Email Janet on the Contact page on this website for an interview.