Meet the Librarian: Rebecca Preston

Central Library youth librarian Rebecca Preston

What she does: Youth Librarian at Central Library. I get to run three wonderful storytimes for babies, toddlers, and family ages. I also put together tons of fun kid’s programs like Giant Board Games and character visits from some of our friends like Elephant & Piggie. With the help of our youth team at Central, I maintain the children’s collection and do outreach to area schools and centers. We work together to promote our Summer Reading Program and keep the youth area filled with toys and activities that promote the 5 Simple Steps to Success of early literacy.

How did you get to this position?

I’ve been at Central since October of 2017, and I started as an intern with the library in the summer of 2010. 

When did you know you wanted to become a librarian?

When I was 6 years old, I told everyone I knew that I was going to be a librarian because I grew up reading at Franklin Library. It wasn’t until my internship that I really grew to understand the complexity and varied skills needed for the role. People always tell me I have the best job in the world and I wholeheartedly agree!

What do you enjoy most about your job and what has inspired you lately? I love meeting the families who come to use the library space and materials. I also love making book displays and concocting weird experiments for programs. Most recently, several families have come up to me and asked for programs about their favorite book characters. I love that kids and adults feel comfortable making suggestions and are inspired by the stories around them.

When you are off the clock, what are your hobbies or interests? You’ve probably already guessed that I spend a lot of time reading, but I also love swimming, playing games, painting, and writing. I like to try lots of new things, especially if they are arts and crafts related.

What are you reading right now?

It’s only (a few) months into 2019, but already the picture books are blowing me away. I just read Fear the Bunny, by Richard Morris, which is a hilarious tale set in a forest where all the animals are afraid of bunnies, but Tiger just can’t believe it. I love that it includes William Blake’s The Tyger poem and maybe even a hint of Monty Python homage for the adults.

How did the library's MyDMPL Con (Sunday, May 5) come together, and what is your role?

I was working with Forest Avenue Library on a great outreach program that celebrated manga at Drake University, which ended up being cancelled. When that happened, the team I was working with all realized that we could still use all our planning in our own libraries. MyDMPL Con is a family-friendly celebration of all the wonderful and creative fandoms that exist in our library collection. My role in the event is to contract and coordinate our visiting performers, artists, and experts. On the day, you’ll find me leading our visiting heroes and princesses around the library. One of the things that makes the event really special is that it is totally free to attend, and you will leave with a bag full of fun creations and some wonderful memories and photos. It is an extension of the programs all six libraries in our city are already doing to support our collection and really brings together the movies, video games, and book characters that we all know and love. There is something for everyone!

What can families expect there this year?

This year things are getting even bigger with all the fun superheroes, princesses, and Harry Potter activities we have planned. We are adding even more fun for the little ones with Paw Patrol, Lego features, and sensory activities. Teens are going to be blown away by our Air Bazookas, video games, and gory zombie makeup tutorials. We have tons of things to make and take home, and also offer experiences like a puppet show and live luchadores wrestling demos. While you're deciding what to do next, we will also have face-painting, green screens, and a portrait booth.