INTERVIEW WITH JULIE KENT: PARSONS PUBLIC LIBRARY YOUNG ADULT SPECIALIST
By Pamela James
MM: Julie, give us the backstory on how you came to work for the Parsons Library?
JK: I read the advertisement in the paper for this job and decided this was something I had always wanted to do. I love the books and the people who come into the library.
MM: Tell us about how your idea for a coloring day at the library came about?
JK: I read on a Librarian Facebook page that this phenomenon was very popular in a number of libraries in the USA. Many of the libraries had discovered that patrons really loved being able to come in and just relax. I talked to Delores and Jean and they agreed with my idea to start this.
MM: Do the coloring days stay the same? Explain to us how this works for you?
JK:Currently we are coloring each Wednesday afternoon for an hour. We tried several time frames for the program and this is our current program.
An hour seems to be enough for most people to get started on a picture. They take them home to complete.
MM: Has anyone completed a colored piece?
JK: We have several pictures that were colored and brought back to us to post. We plan on offering holiday inspired pictures to color and then post as a sort of holiday decorations.
MM: Do you think you will have a coloring contest?
JK:Our plan is to have a coloring competition soon. We haven’t decided exactly what that will entail so far. I have been thinking that it might be fun to do this in December. We haven’t ironed out the details as yet.
MM: As a young adult specialist for the library: what does this entail?
JK: My job has spanned from Young Adult programs to Tech Tip programs for Adults. My basic duties include purchase of books and movies for YA, and planning monthly programming for YA usually in the form of a movie or craft program. During the Summer Reading Program, I plan and usually complete the craft programs that are done for that session. We have had beading crafts, origami, made terrariums, duct tape wallets and other craft items. I am usually at the Reference Desk during the day, checking books in and out and answering questions for patrons.
MM: What programming do you have planned for the library?
JK:We often help patrons access their e-books and audio books on tablets and phones by helping them to download the programs and set them up. In addition we have had programs on the new Sierra program card catalog, Encore, that is used to find, place a hold, and renew books from home on your computer. We show patrons how to use this program and it gives them a lot of control over their checkouts and can even offer a way to track the books they want to read and the ones they have already read.
MM: I know you work with a lot of talented ladies. Have any of your coworkers colored a picture?
JK:Several of my co-workers have taken pictures home to complete. They are some pretty creative people.
MM: Tell us about the different designs and styles you have for patrons to choose from and since this has started what will come next for 2016?
JK: We have several books that we ordered from Dover Publishing that are adult coloring books. We also have gotten many pictures from Pinterest and have a coloring account on Pinterest for the Library.
At the coloring sessions, patrons can request a certain subject; today one wanted celestial pictures with the moon and stars, and another one wanted complex pictures of animals: Lions, Elephants and Gorillas.
MM: Okay now for some fun questions. What is your favorite meal, dessert, books to reread, song, movies and drink?
JK: I love going out to eat in Joplin at Hu Hot. This restaurant does stir fry with ingredients that you pick out. They always have vegetables, lean meat, eggs, and sauces to complete your meal. This is a buffet-type restaurant so you can go through the line as many times as you want.
Desserts are really my downfall. I love chocolate French silk pie, tiramisu, ice cream and cheesecake. That about covers desserts lol.
I have always loved Janet Evanovich books because they are mindless and funny. I am a fan of John Grisham books, J. A. Jance books too. As far as young adult books, my very favorite is Mike Mullen’s Ash Fall series. I can re-read them and love them. I also love books that keep me thinking. Mysteries fit into that category.
I love quiet music: Enya, Native American flute music by Coyote Oldman. I also love Bruno Mars. Actually I love most music. Different genres for different moods.
Currently my favorite movie is Pitch Perfect. I have seen it many times. I like the music it in. I also am a fan of The Hunger Games movies, The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings movies and of course, Harry Potter movies.
I love coffee drinks. I usually have one cup of coffee when I get up in the morning and may have a dessert type coffee when I eat lunch at Remnant Café here in Parsons. I am fond of the Butter Beer drink (Harry Potter drink).
MM: If you could sit down with any five authors dead or alive who would they be and what would you want to know?
JK: I really like James Patterson as an author. I believe he has the whole author thing figured out. He puts out (with another author) a book every month or two. He also has become a noted children’s author, writing books that young kids and young adults find entertaining. I think I would just like to spend some time talking about his writing and how he started. I would love to write a book too so think this might be very helpful.
Janet Evanovich is another author I think would be interesting. I would be interested in finding out where she got the very funny characters in her Stephanie Plum series. Do these people really exist ??
Dana Stabenow writes books about Alaska and the Native American tribe members who live there. I like hearing about the tribal customs and the lifestyle.
Mike Mullen writes YA books. His series beginning with Ash Fall is a big favorite of mine. His story begins with the super-volcano in Yellowstone exploding and how the people affected handle the problems that occur. I really enjoy these books. They seem very plausible to me and the problems the people face are real.
MM: Lastly, what do you want to say to your patrons about the coloring days?
JK: The Color Your Stress Away program is a lovely way to handle stress. It is nice we are giving adults permission to color. Most of them have felt guilty about doing something they may have thought was childish.
JK: Thanks for giving me an opportunity to tell you about our programs and a bit about myself.