There are many reasons parents might ground their children. But Brooklynn Jacobs-Lewis had a particularly unique problem as a kid.
“I was too busy reading and wasn’t turning in my homework,” says Jacobs-Lewis. “My mom was constantly grounding me from the library.”
It’s a fitting origin story for the Central Library’s new Youth Services Librarian. In the new role, she’ll manage programming for children and teens ages 0-18. Jacobs-Lewis grew up near the Forest Avenue Library and was a frequent visitor there. “The first time I visited, my mind was blown. It was incredible to me that I could check out all the books my heart desired, for free.” By the time she was in middle school, she was at the library almost every day – when her homework was done, of course.
Still, the idea of working at a library never really crossed her mind until she was out of college. “I saw the job listing, and it was this ‘aha!’ moment. I could work at that mystical magical place I loved as a child!,” says Jacobs-Lewis.
Becoming a librarian
Her first library job was in 2018, where started as a Clerk at the Franklin Avenue Library. She immediately fell in love with the work that went into serving the community and building relationships with patrons. Shortly afterward, she began applying for grad school programs in Information and Library Science, graduating with her master’s degree this past May.
Becoming the Youth Services Librarian at the Central Library is a natural next step in Jacobs-Lewis’ library journey. She was promoted in 2019, and moved to the Central Library for a part-time position as she completed her degree. She’s familiar with both what Central has to offer for families as well as many of the patrons that use the Central Library.
She says that she loves working with kids and teens and learning what they’re passionate about, allowing them avenues to explore those interests that they may not have otherwise.
“As librarians, we’re here to support the educational and entertainment interests of our patrons, without judgement. We’re also here to even the playing field for our patrons through access to resources, technology, and literature,” she says. One example is the 3D printer at the Central Library, which the staff has affectionately named “ChiChi" (it's named for a character in Akata Witch by Nnedi Okorafor). Providing programs utilizing this kind of technology gives kids and teens a chance to try things at the library they may never have the chance to otherwise.
Developing the joy of reading
Jacobs-Lewis knows that not every child is going to immediately enjoy reading the way she did. There are things parents can do, however, to help create reading habits. Reading with your child at any age is a great place to start. In addition to hearing new words, this habit can help children associate reading with familial love and quality time.
In addition, Jacobs-Lewis says that parents should provide kids space to read and try not to overwhelm them with options. Most times, provided with that space, they’ll find something they enjoy on their own. She always recommends graphic novels for reluctant readers. “Most kids love the freeform, unintimidating nature of graphic novels,” she says.
You can always say hi to Brooklynn at the Central Library’s children’s area! Learn more about upcoming programs at the Central Library, including storytimes, at our events page.
What's Brooklynn reading?
"I just finished This Poison Heart, a YA novel about a teenage girl who can grow and nurture plants with her mind. When she is notified that she’s the last living member of her estranged birth mother’s family and has inherited the family estate, she is launched into a family mystery that only she can solve. This book was delightful, and funny. But also really creepy and insightful. I knew nothing about the plot before I began the book, but it quickly became my favorite read of the year.
The other book I’m reading is for our YA for Adults Book Club. It’s an old favorite of mine called Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta. It’s a gorgeously tragic story about an abandoned teen who has lived in an Australian boarding school since she was 11 years old. In her final year of school when her caretaker goes missing Taylor begins to search for the answers of her missing family. It’s a story about friendship and love that reminds me what it’s like to be a teenager and have these big, brave, passionate feelings about everything."
Last Modified September 16, 2021