Youngsters across the Parkway are saying goodbye to longtime West Roxbury children’s librarian Gwen Fletcher as she retires from her post on Aug. 4. The Jamaica Plain resident has been a children’s librarian for 22 years, 17 of which were spent with the Boston Public Library.
The Transcript recently learned more about Fletcher’s career and her plans for the future.
Why did you decide to become a children’s librarian?
The combination of the opportunity to work with children and their literature was a magical one! “You mean, this is work?”’ I asked myself.
My parents had exposed me and my siblings to wonderful literature from an early age, so that when I grew up and had three daughters of my own, I wanted to do the same for them.
Incidentally, I am reminded of how these favorites last when adults come into the children’s room and ask for ones they remember loving as a little boy or girl. No matter how vague the question, for example, ‘Have you got that book about a cat?’ we try to find it. Thanks to Google and a little more detail, we often can!
After library school, I knew that I wanted to work with children and their literature. Because I had done some theater work, I realized the work would provide an outlet for my creative side as well.
What are a few trends you have noticed in children’s literature over the years?
Multiculturalism: This is a big one. Now children from cultures all over the world can see themselves reflected in fiction and non-fiction.
Changing cultural emphases, such as the growing importance of the contributions of women, and the recognition of various types of relationships and family configurations are now also mirrored in children’s books. In connection with this trend, more books in many languages populate children’s rooms.
Series: There have been series for children for many years. For example, “Freddy the Pig,” by Walter K. Brooks, goes as far back as…