Toni Buzzeo photo  Toni Buzzeo
   Send Email to Toni at:
  
tonibuzzeo@tonibuzzeo.com

   Visit Toni's website at:
  
http://www.tonibuzzeo.com

Authors Among Us - Children's Writers Who Are or Who Have Been Librarians

Featured Titles by Maine author Toni Buzzeo
 
Ready or Not, Dawdle Duckling cover
    Ready or Not, Dawdle Duckling
    by Toni Buzzeo
    illustrated by Margaret Spengler
    Dial Books for Young Readers, 2005

    Purchase this book from Amazon.com
Little Loon and Papa book cover


   Little Loon and Papa
   by Toni Buzzeo
   illustrated by Margaret Spengler
   Dial Books for Young Readers, 2004

   Purchase this book from Amazon.com
35 Best Books for Teaching U.S. Regions cover   The Sea Chest
   by Toni Buzzeo
   Illustrated by Mary Grandpre
   Dial Books for Young Readers, 2002

   Purchase this books from Amazon.com

  Find out more about Toni and her books at:
  http://www.tonibuzzeo.com or 
  http://www.maslibraries.org/authill/tc_toc.html
What influenced you to become a librarian, or to work in a  library?

   As a child, my favorite place was the library, especially the branch library that was built four blocks from my home when I was ten.  So, as a teenager, my first job was as a library page.  That sealed the deal.

Do you have a library/information science degree?

   I have an MLIS from University of Rhode Island, and also an MA in English from the University of Michigan.

What kinds of library positions have you held and where?

   I've been a public children's librarian at the Baxter Memorial Library in Gorham, Maine, a school library media specialist at Congin School in Westbrook, Maine, a school library media specialist at Margaret Chase Smith School in Sanford, Maine,  and a school library media specialist at several elementary schools in Portland, Maine, especially Longfellow Elementary School, where I worked for eleven years before leaving at the end of the 2004 academic year.

How long were you a librarian? 

   I was a librarian for sixteen years.

Which came first in your life, your career as a librarian or writing for children and for adults who work with children?

   While I have always been a writer, I didn't publish books until after I was a librarian.

Did your library work have anything to do with becoming a children's writer?

   My work as a children's librarian and as a children's book and audiobook reviewer certainly influenced my becoming a children's writer.  Children's and young adult books are 90% of the books I read!  I know no literary genre better, despite my two degrees in English.

Did your library work directly influence your work as an author?
Did you respond to books in your library collection?  Did librarianship increase your knowledge of children’s literature and influence the kinds of things you chose to write?  Did you ever set any scenes in your books in the library?

   While I never set any scenes in my books in my library, my work with children and children's literature definitely influenced me as a writer.  I am so knowledgeable about what is out there -- what is being published for kids -- that it influences what I write, I am sure.  However, when I imagined a dawdling duckling, and wrote a really irresistible duckling story, I ignored the enormous number of duckling books on my shelves in the library and just went ahead and wrote it!  It worked out well, actually, as Dial published Dawdle Duckling and its sequel, Ready or Not, Dawdle Duckling, will be out in 2005.

What were the greatest benefits of being a librarian to you as a writer?

   The greatest benefits were twofold: 1) the kids that I taught and talked to each day; and 2) the constant exposure to and immersion in children’s literature.

Were there any drawbacks to being a librarian and also a writer?

   TIME was the greatest drawback of all -- lack of it!  Both of my careers really demand to be full time rather than part time, and so finally, I had to make a decision to leave my library job.  It was a difficult decision for me.

How do you manage the time-juggling act?

   Not only do I write children's books, but I write professional books for teachers and librarians as well.  I also write articles for writers librarians, and educators regularly.  So my time is DOUBLY compromised.  I am forever trying to juggle all of the things I have to do, and all of the writing I want to do, in order to squeeze out some of each.  I have never found a way to properly juggle all the tasks.

Did you find any conflicts or job-related difficulties in being both a writer and a librarian?

   No, I didn't find any conflicts.  My educational colleagues (librarians and teachers) were all very proud of my accomplishments as a writer.  The parents and students in my community also regularly celebrated my successes.

Do you feel that librarianship has specific benefits to you as a writer?

   More than anything the benefit has been the constant exposure to high quality children's literature, from reviewing it, to purchasing it, to reading it and sharing it with kids.

Toni Buzzeo's Books are:

Collaborating to Meet Standards: Teacher/Librarian Partnerships for K-6
   by Toni Buzzeo (Linworth, June 2002)

Collaborating to Meet Standards: Teacher/Librarian Partnerships for 7-12
   (Linworth, December 2002)

Dawdle Duckling illustrated by Margaret Spengler (Dial Books for Young Readers,
   January 2003)

Little Loon and Papa illustrated by Margaret Spengler (Dial Books for Young Readers,
   2004)

Ready or Not, Dawdle Duckling illustrated by Margaret Spengler (Dial Books for Young
    Readers, 2005)

The Sea Chest illustrated by Mary GrandPre (Dial Books for Young Readers, August 
   2002)

Terrific Connections with Authors, Illustrators, and Storytellers : Real Space and Virtual Links by Toni Buzzeo and Jane Kurtz (Libraries Unlimited 1999)

35 Best Books for Teaching U.S. Regions by Toni Buzzeo and Jane Kurtz
   (Scholastic Professional, February 2002)

Special Quote from Toni Buzzeo:

   Librarianship was a gift to me as a prospective children's author, as well as in the early years of my writing career.  Where else are you surrounding by kids all day who are talking about books?  Where else is it your job to keep abreast of the newest titles in children's lit?  Where else could you have such a deep and broad appreciation for the very field in which you are writing? 

   I was fortunate to have taken that path to children's writing!

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Last Updated March 21, 2005