February 23, 2018

The Advocate's Toolbox

Meet the Reviewer | Maggie Knapp

MeetReviewer-MidGr-Knapp-MaggieWho are the brilliant and passionate librarians behind SLJ’s reviews? Each month we take a peek behind the books and learn about the folks who help us read and evaluate thousands of titles every year.

How long have you been reviewing for SLJ and what do you review?

I sent in a sample fiction book review in 2008. I gradually started reviewing reference books, DVDs, and audiobooks beginning about two years ago. For books, I review primarily YA dystopian/science fiction/paranormal—with the occasional slightly younger and more realistic story. I enjoy reading all types of books, so every review assignment is a wonderful surprise. I have reviewed some top-notch civil rights DVDs lately, and some terrific audiobooks as well.

What do you do at your library or school?
I work with about 640 students in grades five through 12, plus faculty, at an independent school in Texas. My colleague and I try to balance print materials with electronic access with friendly, in-person interactions, and having material available for the student logging on at midnight to finish (or egads, start!) a paper. We keep trying to get books into the hands of readers with things like Reader Feeders in classrooms, and a pop-up library in study hall.

Why do you review for SLJ?
First, I consider it payback for the years that I read SLJ, and had the benefit of reviews from other librarians. Second, I think I can be fair to authors, and keep the librarian audience in mind. And third: I am a bit of a ham, and like to see my name in print. The best part? It feels like my birthday every time I see a padded envelope with a review item in my mailbox.

How and why did you first get into librarianship?
I heard a program on National Public Radio talking about a “bubble” of school librarians reaching retirement age. The field (according this program) didn’t have glitz or big paychecks, but would soon have more jobs than qualified people to fill them. I decided that going to back to school for my Master’s in Library Science seemed like the right choice. It has been a perfect fit for me!



  1. Vicki Reutter says:

    So happy to see you here, Maggie! Love reading your reviews.