Q&A: Ellen Tweedy
What service or program might people be surprised to learn is offered at the library?
Where do I start? First, Frederick County Public Libraries offers tons of great e-services. Overdrive and 3M enables people to check out e-books and e-audiobooks, while Freegal allows them to stream albums, Zinio lets them check out magazines and Hoopla lets them stream TV shows and movies—all at no cost, with no late fees, from the comfort of their own homes and, in some instances, on the go on a mobile device. Currently, visitors to the library can interact with the Thinking Money exhibit at the C. Burr Artz branch and learn about financial literacy. This summer, along with our awesome Summer Challenge where children, teens and adults can win prizes just for reading or listening to books and doing other fun activities, we’ll have Discover Space, a national exhibit with fully interactive displays for all ages to explore.
With the technology that’s out there, how do you engage children to read books?
I embrace technology, and use it to promote reading as often as possible. I incorporate digital stories into story times, where I also share a range of picture books to balance it out. When I recommend books to hesitant readers, I always try to relate it to TV shows or video games they love to watch or play. Reading is my first love, and being excited about books hooks a child nine times out of 10.
What are some reasons people have for visiting the library?
Libraries today are more than just buildings with books. We are community centers, helping connect people with each other with information, and with technology they may not normally have access to.
We also offer a range of programs for children, teens and adults. They come to us to apply for jobs, fill out tax forms, obtain passports, learn a new language, tinker with 3D printers, answer Dr. Who trivia, watch a puppet show, attend a dance party, enjoy a story time and still, not surprisingly, to find books.
What are some partnerships the library has with outside groups?
The Downtown Frederick Partnership keeps FCPL plugged into what’s going on Downtown. Frederick County Public Schools graciously opens its doors and allows us to spread the word amongst students and families about the amazing resources and programs at the library, while Frederick Community College is a major partner in events such as Frederick Reads and the Institute for Learning in Retirement courses for older adults.
What’s your favorite children’s book?
To a librarian or bibliophile, this is impossible to answer. I will say that I gravitate toward stories that have a strong, but flawed, main character that isn’t afraid to make mistakes, or love themselves despite those mistakes. So, the Harry Potter series, A Wrinkle in Time, Zita the Spacegirl, Lumberjanes and Ramona and Beezus are just a handful of ones I love. Most recently, I have enjoyed every title that Raina Telgemeier writes and illustrates.