2012 Eureka Fellow: Joanna Axelrod
I never really considered being a librarian when I was dreaming of my future career. In high school and college I was focused on becoming a high-powered, high-paid lawyer. But when a snafu with my LSAT left with scoreless and in tears, I met my mom at my university library and she counseled me to “think back to what you enjoyed doing as a child and if you can fashion that into a career you’ll be happy if nothing else.” It’s still one of the best pieces of advice I’ve ever received. So I thought back to how much I enjoyed going to the library every day after elementary school to help my mom run the storytimes and do all the artwork for the children’s room. Can you imagine your library system having the money to hire a part time artist?!? The ‘80s were the good ‘ole days. I knew that library better than the librarians, and I realized that becoming a librarian was the best way for me to combine my love of service with my passion for helping people access and utilize information in all of its various formats.
My favorite part of being a Teen Librarian is programming. If I weren’t a librarian I would be an event planner because I thrive on the little details, and I can take a theme to the extreme! I love all things bling-y and my coworkers call me “Library Barbie” because of my innate fashion sense. ☺ I’m also known as the Texting Librarian (hence my twitter handle @txtinglibrarian) because in 2008 I became the LG Regional Texting Champion for California and went on to compete at the National level in NYC. I made it to the semifinals. There’s much more to that story, so ask me sometime if you’re interested.
I’m an active member of ALA, CLA, and YALSA. Last year I served on the Amazing Audiobooks for Young Adults committee, and this year I am part of the Odyssey Award selection committee. I’m a member of the Summer Reading Advisory Council that presents annually at the CLA conference to inspire fellow librarians with summer reading ideas. I’m also a judge for the CLA Begun Scholarship and the Independent Book Publisher’s Association Benjamin Franklin Award. All of these activities keep me engaged with the profession and allow me to network with my fellow amazing librarians who inspire me to keep fighting the good fight!
When I’m not working, I love to travel with my husband. We’ve been to more than 15 countries so far and have plans to visit many more. I also love to backpack and am a total foodie! My favorite food is sushi, and I think I must have been a little Japanese girl in a former life because I can eat sushi for every meal. I’m also a gym rat – my day starts at 4:50 AM with bootcamp cause I need the energy to keep up with my teens!
In 2011 I was named one of Library Journal’s Movers and Shakers, an honor I am deeply grateful for and flattered to have received, but those are big shoes to fill so I’m excited to participate in the Eureka Leadership Institute to learn how to become a more effective leader and teammate so that I can continue to move my library forward.