Every children’s book editor must have a story about how they realized they loved books when they sat in their school library in kindergarten, listening to a story read by their favorite librarian. That’s how my story goes too. My school librarian, Mary Jackson (who’s now retired) was a great ally in my reading life. I was a voracious reader when I started kindergarten, and Mrs. Jackson let me check out whatever book I wanted. I still remember exactly where some of my favorites were: the Ellen Raskins on a bottom shelf, a specific collection of Christmas stories in the nonfiction stacks.
That small library was housed in a very old building, and when I entered sixth grade our school moved into a new building. The library expanded into a beautiful, light-filled space with room for browsing and reading and researching. When I was a senior in high school, I had a free period that I used to help Mrs. Jackson in that library. (I used to pride myself on having the Dewey numbers memorized...a skill I no longer have, unfortunately.) When I graduated, Mrs. Jackson gave me a gorgeous leather-bound journal—a gift I cherished, used to note the big moments during college.
This week, National Library Week, and especially today, National Library Worker’s Day, I think about Mrs. Jackson and am thankful to have had such an awesome lady helping me get to the stories I wanted. (She's also famous for being the only person in my small hometown to drive a cherry red convertible.)