Children’s Librarian Is Big On Books



MOUNT DESERT — At last week’s meeting of the Thursday afternoon book club at the Northeast Harbor Library, Gracie Carreno was eager to discuss the latest work of fiction she had read. It’s a slim, colorfully illustrated tome called “The HICCUPotamus.”

 

Children’s librarian Eilleen MacLean doesn’t just read stories, she performs them, for a group of Mount Desert Elementary School first-graders last week at the Northeast Harbor Library. — DICK BROOM
Children’s librarian Eilleen MacLean doesn’t just read stories, she performs them, for a group of Mount Desert Elementary School first-graders last week at the Northeast Harbor Library. — DICK BROOM

“He gets the hiccups and makes a mess of everything,” she told her fellow club members.

Asked to describe her favorite part of the book, she said, “It’s all my favorite part.”

Gracie and the other club members – Elaina Cote, Sarah Knox and Jane Pope – are 7-year-old first-grade students at Mount Desert Elementary School.

Last fall, Sarah told children’s librarian Eilleen MacLean that she would like to start a book club, and they began getting together in November. First, they have a snack; last week it was microwave popcorn. Then they settle onto sofas around the fireplace in the library’s reading room to talk about the books they checked out the previous week and to read a few passages aloud. After that, Ms. MacLean helps them choose books to read for the next meeting.

“I am just so tickled that kids that young are so excited about reading,” she said. “I want to do whatever I can to facilitate that and keep them interested, so I try to make sure I have the kind of literature they want and the books that are good for them to read.”

Ms. MacLean has been a children’s librarian for nearly 30 years. Before coming to Mount Desert last July, she was the librarian at an elementary school in Half Moon Bay, Calif. Budget cuts eliminated that position. When she learned that the Northeast Harbor Library was looking for a children’s librarian, she decided to apply, partly because her father lives not far away, in the Sandy Point area of Stockton Springs.

She says the job is a wonderful fit, and she describes the children’s room at the library as “an amazing space.”

Because the public library is also the library for Mount Desert Elementary, Ms. MacLean doubles as the school librarian.

“I’m here for the teachers and here for the kids, to help them find whatever they need,” she said. “I firmly believe they need the ability to pull information from print materials as well as from the Internet, and I know the teachers feel the same way. I love getting kids turned on to books.”

For more community news, pick up a copy of the Mount Desert Islander.

 

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