BLUE HILL — The new teen services librarian at the Blue Hill Public Library is not a teen at all but rather a married mother of two who has loved books and reading forever and has the chops to help your teen find a book to read and enjoy.
“I’ve always been very passionate about books,” said Kendall Chapman. “For me, reading is a really nice break from everything else,” the librarian said. “I also just really enjoy the creativity of it.”
“I’ve been lucky to have teachers who got me excited about reading and writing.”
Library Director Rich Boulet hired the George Stevens Academy graduate in January of 2020.
But then the pandemic happened and the library building was closed to the public for several months while services were provided as best they could while keeping everyone safe.
Now the library is open again and Chapman is chatting in person with the over-10 crowd who find their way to the teen section on the second floor.
“I would love to see more teens coming back into the library,” Chapman said. “I want to make this a valuable resource for them.”
Listening to Chapman ask questions of young people coming in for book suggestions on a recent afternoon, it’s clear she has a book recommendation for seemingly every reader.
“I’m a firm believer there’s a book out there for everyone,” said Chapman. “I try to figure out what their interests are and make recommendations based on that. I try to be really aware of their reading levels too. I try not to box these kids into YA books.”
It helps that the Plattsburgh, N.Y., native reads so much herself. Chapman has had a book review blog for the past five years called The Geeky Yogi. http://www.thegeekyyogi.com/. Many of the titles she’s reviewed have been the young adult genre. “It gave me exposure to publishers and authors,” she said. All knowledge that has translated well as a teen librarian.
A book doesn’t necessarily mean a hardcover book with a certain number of pages. Chapman recommends graphic novels as well as audiobooks for certain teens.
Chapman has several ongoing events this summer for young people, including a summer hiking book club in conjunction with Blue Hill Heritage Trust. There’s one more hike in August.
“I’m also starting a Magic the Gathering Club,” she said. The club will meet on Wednesdays from 3 to 5 p.m. starting July 21. “They can just show up,” Chapman said. “We’ll be right outside on the front lawn. Cards will be available if kids don’t have their own.”
Twice a month Chapman reads from a new book and gives a mini review online in a series called Teen Book Talk. You can watch on the library’s circulation channel on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCUHOkBmgd4J3vCAJ_Z6bl8w.
The library is also hosting a summer reading bingo contest. Once readers complete their bingo card, they get a ticket for a free ice cream from The Fish Net.
Before the pandemic, Chapman had also started a Diverse Universe Book Club where teens read books featuring different cultures and sexual orientations. She plans to restart the club this fall.
Chapman is also developing a teen creativity cafe where teens can gather to write, draw, work on artwork, socialize and have snacks. “I’ll also have art supplies,” she said. “This will give them a chance to make some friends.”
Chapman never intended to work as a librarian.
“I always wanted to open a bookstore of my own or to write a book,” she said.
After staying home while her children were younger, she worked part time at The Local Variety in Bucksport.
The shop/bakery closed in November of 2019. Chapman reached out to the library about openings and she started working in January of 2020.
She’s working now on a degree in library science.