February 20, 2018

The Advocate's Toolbox

Meet the Reviewer | Maryann Owen

SLJ1503-MeetReviewer-Owen-MaryannHA dedicated professional from the Oak Creek (WI) Public Library, Maryann has been contributing reviews—mostly of picture books, but also of fiction and nonfiction titles—for nearly two decades. We recently caught up with her at ALA Midwinter in Chicago.

How and why did you first get into librarianship?
My childhood home was filled with books; I grew up in a family of readers. My siblings and I loved books and comics, my mother was a whiz at crossword puzzles and my father studied the newspaper. He would often entertain family and friends by quoting poems such as “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner” and “The Cremation of Sam McGee.” At college in Iowa, I discovered I had earned a major while deciding what to major in—all my electives were in American or English literature and creative writing. After graduation, I moved to Madison, WI, and worked in a university library. I began library school in Madison and graduated with my MLIS from UW-Milwaukee after moving to the shores of Lake Michigan.

Is there a book that made you fall in love with reading?
Twig by Elizabeth Orton Jones was read countless times and I also enjoyed The Secret Garden and Mary Poppins. As a child, I loved anything British—and I still do.

What are you reading (and liking) right now? Or what was the last book you read that you absolutely loved?
I just finished All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr—riveting! I also recently listened to The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin, about a bookstore owner, and happily added several titles mentioned in the book to my already lengthy must-read list.

Are you involved in any committees for ALA or with local or state library organizations?
I was chair of the Wisconsin Library Association’s Children’s Book Award committee and served on the Youth Services Board of WLA. I’m on ALA’s 2016 Carnegie Medal/Notable Children’s Videos committee and have been fortunate to serve on other ALA committees including: the Theodor Seuss Geisel, Notable Children’s Books, as well as the Odyssey Award. And—this is thrilling—my name will appear on the ballot this spring for the 2017 Newbery Award committee!

Meet the previously profiled reviewers.