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Wellington City Libraries

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Reading, Wellington, and whatever else –

Zines, Superpowers and Don from Madmen: an interview with a library buyer

So who buys the library books then? WCL has a team of eight people who are lucky enough to spend most of their time buying books, magazines, CDs and DVDs. This is a fairly ideal job if you really like spending money, and really like reading, listening to music and watching movies. Stephanie is one of the young adult selectors and we thought we’d ask her a few questions.

1) What’s the strangest book you’ve bought for the library and/or what’s the strangest suggestion to buy you’ve received from a customer?

Well, as well as books for children and teens I also buy zines for the Library. You know what they are right? For those that don’t basically they’re self published magazines and you can write them on just about any topic imaginable! So some of the strangest ones I’ve brought are: I was unaware they made black jeans that small; little dead riding hood; super pash action; why no one gets tight with the geek; I was a teenaged Mormon; I hate my mom’s cat and fish piss. Ok, so they ain’t that strange but they do have cool titles! They are also free to issue on the first floor of the Central Library. You should check them out sometime.

I can’t remember any really strange suggestion to buys, but Kathleen who works with me just showed me one for a book called “how to amputate a leg”, which is pretty weird.

2) When you were at school what did you want to be “when you grew up”?

I wanted to be a marine biologist when I was really young. I lived by the sea and my brother and I made friends with sea anemones. But really it wasn’t too serious. I just thought it sounded cool. I’m pretty happy doing what I do now though. Buying books is fun 🙂

3) What superpower would make your job easier?

Um, maybe the power to clone myself so one of me could sit outside and read in the sun and eat bread and cheese and the other could be inside doing work and getting paid!

4) What things did you read when you were at high school?

I feel really bad saying this but I didn’t read too much at high school, mostly just the prescribed texts. I was a big reader at primary and intermediate and then took a long break and only got back into reading for fun when I was at university.

5) What YA books have you read lately (that you’ve enjoyed)?

Right now I’m enjoying reading Catching Fire, which is the sequel to The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. I also enjoyed the Twilight series (well mostly when it wasn’t making me cringe), How I Live Now by Meg Rosoff, The Book Thief by Markus Zusak, The 10pm Question by Kate De Goldi and Violence 101 by my friend Dennis Wright. I plan to read heaps more too, ‘cos as I’m buying them for you guys I’m thinking “that looks awesome” and so I have to reserve it for myself.

6) If you were marooned on a desert island with three people (of your choice), three items of food and three books, who and what would you choose?

Ok so this is a hard one! I would choose Don from Madmen (‘cos he’s nice to look at), my friend Carmel (‘cos we have fun together) and Katniss from Catching Fire (‘cos she looks like she could handle just about anything!). For food I would have breads, cheeses and cakes! And books I couldn’t decide. Because I work in a library I never really read anything twice so perhaps something new? I’ve recently reserved Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater (because Grimm said it’s like The Time Traveler’s Wife, which is one of my favourite books) and The Great Death by John Smelcer (it’s gotten good reviews) and The Key to the Golden Firebird by Maureen Johnson (recommended by my co-selector Tom).


Worst. Movies. Ever.


Gamers Rejoice II


  1. If you are interested in authors, you may find my post about John Smelcer (author of GREAT DEATH) interesting. He claims he is Native.

  2. Crowfeather

    Thanks Debbie, you are the master of critique, I only wise that we all could be as perfect.

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