Interview With Super Star Librarian and 2009 Newbery Judge

Posted in Interviews at 1:40 pm by Bridget

Today we have a very special interview for you with 2009 Newbery Judge Amanda Moss — one of our favorite librarians of all time! She can play the banjo AND make pickles and is known for her crafty parties. 

1. You experienced some major milestones this year. How did you

balance those things with being on the Newbery committee in terms of

time and scheduling?


Amanda: You’re right– this was a busy year!  I got married in September, and in

November and December I went through the application and interview process

for the new job I started in January 2009.  My strategy was simple if not

very structured:  READ!  I shoved reading into every nook and cranny I could

find in my schedule.  I kept all of my books on shelves in the living room,

and on the coffee table I had an ever-growing pile of “read this next!”

material (much to my husband’s glee, of course).  Sometimes that material

would take up not only the table, but also parts of the floor.  This urgent

visual reminder pushed me to find more time to get through the books.  This

meant that some things I usually like to do (playing the banjo, knitting,

watching trashy reality TV shows, and socializing) stopped happening.


2. Did your banjo playing help you in any way?


Amanda: To be completely honest, I touched my banjo zero times during the entire

year of 2008.  But now I’m back at it, happily plucking and strumming!


3. How does the committee communicate? Do you have meetings over the year?


Amanda: We met once at ALA’s Midwinter meeting in January 2008, to get to know each

other and get some advice from our wonderful committee chair, Rose.  We met

again at the ALA annual conference in June and practiced discussing books

together.  Between conferences, we communicated by email to suggest titles

and verify eligibility of books.  Because we considered everything published

in 2008 (even in December 2008!), we had to wait until the 2009 ALA

Midwinter meeting to hold our evaluative discussions and make our decisions

about the winner and honor books.  Really, the majority of communication

between committee members takes place at the Midwinter conference where the

decisions are made.


4. Are you allowed to/please tell us your personal favorite book of

the year? Was it the winner?


Amanda: I do love The Graveyard Book, but my personal favorite book published in

2008 was What I Saw and How I Lied by Judy Blundell.


5. Can you get us into the Newbery banquet? Can we sit at your table?

What are you going to wear? Is the committee going to color



Amanda: Ooh, that would be so fun!  I’m hoping, since the banquet is in Chicago and

I live in Madison, that my husband will be able to come.  I don’t know what

I am going to wear, but definitely something very glamorous in a much

smaller size than I am currently wearing.


6. What did you do with all those books? Did you get your own copies

or did you check them out from the library?


Amanda: Publishers sent us lots of books, and I also spent time at bookstores and

the CCBC browsing the new material.  One of the committee’s challenges is

making sure we don’t miss anything.  I had great success checking out the

books I wanted to read that I didn’t receive from publishers; I think I only

actually purchased one book.  After returning from Midwinter this year, I

was thrilled to start saying good-bye to most of the 700 or so books I had

acquired.  A perfect opportunity came at my annual Valentine-making party.

Besides making valentine cards and decorating heart-shaped cookies, guests

took home as many books as they could carry!


7. Have you met anyone famous this year?


Amanda: Yes!  I met Bridget and Janet, two very famous authors.  Can I have your


1 Comment »

  1. Suzanne said,

    February 19, 2009 at 4:50 pm

    Oooh! One of my favorite people interviewing one of my other favorite people! Great interview, Bridget. And good to know what’s in store for me this year, Amanda. Did you tell Bridget how you didn’t tell me you got married until about 5 minutes into your “what I’ve been up to” update in Denver? ;-) ***hugs***

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