I am Maggie Bokelman, the librarian at Eagle View Middle School in Mechanicsburg, PA, just over the river from Harrisburg. Our school’s name is no misnomer: I took the above picture from the parking lot one lovely (and very early) morning. Truth be told, I can’t see this view from the library, but, like every good library, Eagle View’s is filled with books representing a vast array of perspectives. Young adult author Patrick Ness calls libraries “the doors onto the world” in his 2011 Carnegie Medal acceptance speech. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had kids ask me if I’ve read all the books, and I have to tell them I haven’t come close. Still, I try to read as many as I can, and I do my best to serve not only as a reading role model, but also as a trusted resource. Kids don’t just want something to read. They want a book that will take them on an adventure, and keep them turning pages under the covers with a flashlight long after they ought to be asleep.
For most of the day I am on a flexible schedule, but I also teach a digital literacy class to 7th graders. We talk about copyright issues, poetry, social media, databases, keyword searching, Wikipedia, hippopotamuses (because I like them), and whatever the kids want to talk about (currently, tossing water bottles). I recently completed a master’s in children’s literature at Hollins University, and also hold a master’s in library studies from the University of Wisconsin and a master’s in English from Temple University. My primary academic interests are poetry; the innovative styles, forms, and formats in children’s literature that have been emerging in recent years; and immersion in fiction (otherwise known as the study of why and how people get lost in a book). I enjoy attending and presenting at children’s literature and library conferences, but ultimately there is nothing that compares to the pleasure of finding the right book for the right kid. Sometimes all it takes is one great reading experience to turn a reluctant reader into an eager reader, and I’m always on the lookout for books that can make that kind of magic happen.