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Stark Reflections on Writing and Publishing

Feb 12, 2021

Mark interviews Julie Bonser (Head of Youth Services) and Michelle Rutter (Teen Services Librarian) from Eastern Munroe Public Library in Pennsylvania.

Prior to the interview is an message about this episode's sponsor.

You can learn more about how you can get your work distributed to retailers and library systems around the world at

In their conversation, Mark, Julie, and Michelle talk about:

  • Julie and Michelle's respective titles, the role each of them plays at the library and a little about their background
  • The five different locations in Monroe County where Michelle provides the teen services programing
  • How Julie is not typical as a librarian as a "book-centric" person
  • An explanation of the designation of the term "librarian" what that means and how it differs in different states and the difference between "provisional" and "professional"
  • The significant differences and focuses of public, academic, and school libraries
  • What the average day in the life of a youth services librarian might be like
  • Some of the strange and odd activities that a teen services librarian might find themselves doing
  • Changes that Julie and Michelle have seen since the start of the pandemic
  • Collaborations and sharing with different departments in the library
  • Examples of some of the activities programmed for the library, such as a teen writing workshop
  • The circulation of physical YA books as being the highest it has ever been at the library
  • Platforms the library uses for book acquisition, as well as how they find out about and decide what books to purchase
  • Preferences and biases that librarian curators might have
  • Why a writer of books for younger readers might have a bigger challenge or more resistance to getting books into libraries verses authors of adult titles
  • Librarians looking at holes in title selection as well as specific representation of indigenous voices, #ownvoices, etc
  • Recommendations for how to contact and reach out to libraries to let them know about your book
  • And more...

After the interview, Mark shares a couple of reflections about things the conversation with Julie and Michelle made him think about. He also thanks patrons and listeners.


Links of Interest


Julie Bonser graduated with a degree in Elementary Education but somehow ended up in libraries. She is currently the Head of Youth Services at the Eastern Monroe Public Library in Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania, but also has prior experience in circulation, cataloging, and adult reference. Serving kids and teens is her main passion, which keeps her energized, up-to-date, and endlessly entertained. Julie is a lifelong resident of the Pocono Mountains. She enjoys children’s literature, board games, Tetris, and strumming the ukulele.

Michelle Rutter is a Teen Services Public Librarian in NE Pennsylvania along with her skeleton assistant Bona Lisa. She is a lifelong bibliophile and has enjoyed teaching such a big word to little kids when she worked in school libraries. She has also worked in an academic library where she once cataloged a piece of heavy machinery as a joke because the facilities department parked it in the library for so long. When she's not perpetrating benign mayhem at work or reading she enjoys dancing, yoga, and various creative pursuits.

Bona Lisa is a Halloween decoration given a greater afterlife as Michelle's pandemic companion and trusty sidekick on the job. She's a bit thin-skinned but her work ethic is hard to beat as she has worked her fingers to the bone.



The introductory, end, and bumper music for this podcast (“Laser Groove”) was composed and produced by Kevin MacLeod of and is Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0