“Open Book” Interview

Each month, an ILA member working in youth services will answer a few questions about his or her professional life and not-so-serious side. Just ten questions, but we’re sure you’ll learn something new! This month’s interview is with Rashmi Mehrotra, Children’s Services Supervisor at the Naperville Public Library.

What do you do, and how long have you been doing it?                                                                                                                                                                   I am currently the Children’s Services Supervisor at Naperville Public Library at the Nichols Library. I have been in this position for almost 7 years. I have worked at the 95th Street Library as one of its opening crew and at Bartlett Public Library prior to that. In the library world – for over twenty years.

Why are you an ILA member?                                                                                                   To support the activities of the libraries that serve children. To promote and share ideas and to take children’s services into the future. It is my way of giving back for all I have gained over the years. Most of all this is a great avenue for networking with peers. I am from India but have lived in the USA for 34 years now. Libraries are unique to the American culture; even in times of budget cuts we are extremely fortunate to be part of this American institution that nurtures reading, recreation, education in the spirit of service. We all know this is why we are in this profession.

What’s your number #1 source for news in children’s services / literature.                                                                                                                                              In order to stay current with all the changes that technology is bringing to the library world and children’s services there isn’t one resource that we can depend upon. There is more information available than the time to read and absorb. Daily, I do read the article selected by – Library Link of the Day http://www.tk421.net/librarylink/. Other sources are ILA Reporter, Public Libraries and American Libraries amidst the many. Most importantly sharing ideas and networking with other YS librarians and staff is the most practical resource besides attending conferences.

What do you think children’s librarians will be doing ten years from now?                                                                                                                                                                         I will not be working for sure!! Children’s librarianship is the most secure service in the library field in my opinion. We will still be providing early literacy even if the means for disseminating it may change. We have to become meeting places for parents, care-givers, and students. It is the environment that we will have to focus on. The adults of tomorrow would not have gone through the library skills in school and that will take a toll on the searching and researching abilities. Librarians will be needed more than ever. We are seeing that to some extent now. The customer service will have to be excellent without par as we will have many competitors. Multicultural focus will increase and there will be many technological tools to help us provide the services. We will be making many community partnerships to consolidate the resources. We will have to become the One-Stop Center playing multiple roles of the Public Library.

What book(s) are you currently reading?                                                                           Currently reading The Mistress of Spices by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni

What children’s book character would you most like to be and why?                                                                                                                                                                     A very hungry caterpillar because it transforms into a beautiful butterfly.

When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?                                                                                                                                                          Honestly, I wanted to grow up like Mommy and not have to go to school every morning.

What’s one “rule” you wished every librarian followed?                                             Smile and make eye contact. (Seems like two but they go hand in hand for customer service)

Harriet Welch OR Hermoine Grainger?  OR Sammy Keyes or Nancy Drew? Hermoine Grainger! For her stability, sincerity, smartness and leadership. She is always level headed and fun! She keeps her two male friends always on task.

It’s lunch: soup, sandwich or salad? OR What condiment is always in your fridge?                                                                                                                                              Mango Cilantro chutney – spicy and savory! The recipe is attached.


1 raw green mango (peel and cube)

1 bunch of cilantro (wash and chop)

1 small jalapeno pepper

1 tsp. cumin seed

1 lime (freshly squeezed)

Salt to taste

¼ tsp black salt (optional)

Water ¼ cup ( or more if needed to get to grind)

Blend all the ingredients in a blender to a very smooth paste. Add the lime juice. Serve with any meal or appetizers or chips.

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