An Interview with School Librarian Amy Steen

Amy and Stuart SteenElementary school librarian, Amy Steen, grew up in the little town of Windermere outside of Orlando, Florida. After graduating from Florida State University, she worked for five years as an Elementary School Librarian in Orlando while pursuing her Master’s degree in Elementary Education. Amy and her husband Stuart moved to Fairfax County and have lived in their current house since 1991. They have been married 30 years and have three sons, Stuart, Ethan and Jared.

 1. How did you decide to become a librarian?

When I was in high school, I enrolled in the library assistant class that was offered. I loved it! The librarian and I became good friends, and she encouraged me to apply to Florida State University because of its Library School. So, that’s what I did, and now I’ve been an Elementary School Librarian for 31 years!

 2. What types of books are most often checked out?

Fantasy titles seem to be the most popular titles these days. Graphic novels are also checked out a lot. Star Wars books are never on the shelves. Animal/pet books, sports books, princess books, dinosaur books, and drawing books are all popular nonfiction choices. Students at my school also enjoy the Magic Tree House series and the Virginia Readers Choice titles.

3. Do the children change their taste in genre as they move up in grade?

Some children are very reluctant to try “new” genres. However, classroom assignments and or classmate recommendations often help to persuade them to try a new genre. Also, when a teacher reads aloud a certain title, students in that class often want to check out that title or other similar titles.

4. What types of books do you suggest for a reluctant reader?

For reluctant readers, I first discover their interests, such as sports, magic, etc. Then I offer several choices of titles in that area. Sometimes, magazines and graphic novels appeal to reluctant readers.

5. Have you found that graphic novels encourage students to make the transition to more traditional books?

Yes, I do think graphic novels help with the transition to traditional books. Also, titles such as Geronimo Stilton or Diary of a Wimpy Kid help students gain confidence in their reading ability. They are then willing to try more traditional books.

 6. What are your favorite types of books to read?

I enjoy mystery, historical fiction, and biography. Lately, I have enjoyed some fantasy titles, too!  I try to read all of the Virginia Readers Choice titles each year (both Elementary and Middle School levels) as well as the Newbery winning title. Every summer I allow myself to read at least one “grown-up” book!

Thanks, Amy, and best wishes to you, your students, and your family in the new school year! Go Amy and Go ‘Noles!

Stuart, Ethan and Jared Steen

Sons Stuart, Ethan, and Jared Steen


About Sandy Green

I am a poet and children's author. Visit my website at
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