Trevelyn Jones (left) will retire October 18 after three decades heading up the Book Review of School Library Journal (SLJ). Jones came to SLJ in 1982 after 16 years as children’s and young adult librarian at Garden City (NY) Public Library and three years at the Cleveland (OH) Public Library. She received her MLS from Case Western Reserve in Cleveland. She will be succeeded by Kiera Parrott, currently head of children’s services at Darien (CT) Library.
“There are very few people who make such an impact on an industry or profession the way Trev has in her tenure as the editor of the SLJ Book Review,” says publisher Ian Singer. “In her 31 years overseeing this process, she has helped to define great children’s literature. It is because of Trev’s expertise that an SLJ ‘Star’ remains one of the most coveted endorsements in book publishing. While her contribution is immeasurable, we looked back over her time at SLJ and estimate that Trev has presided over more than 120,000 reviews. I have the privilege of being the first to thank her on behalf of SLJ and all of the teachers, librarians, publishers—and most importantly, the children she has influenced, over what by all accounts is an amazing career.”
In her role, Jones has set high standards for SLJ’s reviews, she says, stressing reliability, fairness, and respect for subscribers, reviewers, and the creators of the materials reviewed. “My greatest concern has always been to maintain quality in collection building, highlighting the best books for todays’ children and teens,” says Jones.
Jones increased the number of reviews from 2000 in 1982 to almost 6000 per year, covering the broad and ever-changing landscapes of children’s and young adult publishing. She instituted Series Made Simple, a supplement covering nonfiction series titles; introduced the monthly “Focus On” print feature, highlighting fiction and nonfiction by subject; the “Adult Books 4 Teens” column and blog; and more.
In 1988, with then SLJ Editor-in-Chief Lillian Gerhardt and in partnership with the American Library Association division now known as YALSA, she launched the Margaret A. Edwards award, which SLJ continues to sponsor. Jones has served on the 1979 Newbery/Caldecott Committee and chaired the 1986 Newbery Committee. In addition, she has chaired the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC) Legislation Committee, the ALSC Membership Committee, the Distinguished Service Award committee, and served three years on the ALSC Board of Directors.
“It has been an interesting and inspiring 30-plus years, filled with thousands of books,” says Jones. “Over the years, I am most proud of brilliant hiring, including David Gale, Luann Toth, Daryl Grabarek, Joy Fleishhacker, Marlene Charnizon, and the rest of our super staff. I couldn’t be more delighted with my successor, who brings knowledge, great ideas, and a terrific book sense to SLJ. I know that it is in good hands.”
Parrott to head SLJ Reviews
Kiera Parrott (right) has been head of children’s services at Darien Library since 2011, managing a team of children’s librarians at what is widely regarded as one of the most innovative public libraries in the country. Prior to heading the department, Parrott served as Darien’s children’s librarian/collection development coordinator, helping to reorganize the picture books into the First Five Years Collection and creating “Dewey Lite,” a DDC-alternative classification system for children’s nonfiction. She began her public library career at the New York Public Library where she worked at the Jefferson Market branch and became known for organizing celebrations based on children’s books. She received her MLIS from Queens College and is an active member of ALSC, recently serving as a member of the 2013 Caldecott Committee.
“Rooted in materials and public service, Kiera is also at the cutting edge of children’s services and the transition to digital content,” says Rebecca T. Miller, editorial director of SLJ and Library Journal. “Her experience and savvy leadership from the front lines of our libraries will help SLJ better serve our readers where materials and services meet. She describes herself as an advocate for patron-centered libraries in which collections, programs, and services directly reflect and serve the needs of the users. I’ve seen this in her work at Darien and look forward to seeing it applied to our work together at SLJ.”
At Darien, for instance, Parrott initiated and developed an Early Literacy iPad Kits program and recently launched the T.E.A. Room, a mini-makerspace and STEAM-based programming initiative for kids ages 7–12, and for several years has hosted Darien’s KidLibCamp, an annual unconference for youth services librarians. She has worked closely with the school media specialists in Darien, prioritizing this key relationship by collaborating on special projects and staff trainings with local school librarians.
“I cannot imagine a more exciting path—going from Darien Library to SLJ. Over the last five years, I have worked alongside some of the best and brightest minds in the library world where success was achieved by not only a clear vision but also a culture of collaboration and shared goals. I hope to bring that energy and leadership to this new position,” says Parrott.
“SLJ’s reviews occupy a trusted and powerful place at the helm of children’s content evaluation. The work we do now will uphold SLJ as the premier source for reviews while embracing the changing collection development and reader’s advisory needs of children’s and school librarians. I am honored and humbled to be stepping into Trev’s venerable shoes. I look forward to learning from her example and working closely with this stellar team.”
Upon her retirement, Jones will continue to contribute to SLJ reviews as editor-at-large. Parrott (@libraryvoice on Twitter) starts at SLJ October 28.
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