Don’t Judge a Book by (Her) Cover: My Interview with a Winona Librarian

I had the privilege of meeting and interviewing Marcia Ratliff, a librarian here in the Winona area. Learn more about her role at the Winona Public Library and what she enjoys the most: kids!


Sydney McCutchin (SM): Can you tell us your name and what you do at the library?

Marcia Ratliff (MR): My official title is Library Associate. I help other librarians catalog materials, converse with the patrons—things of that nature.


SM: Tell me how Storytime works.

MR: It is an early literacy family engagement experience. So it’s not just about having the kids sit quietly and listen to a story anymore… it’s more about getting the kids to practice the core early literacy skills. So that’s playing, singing, reading, writing and speaking. We’ll sing songs, we’ll do fingerplays and rhymes, we’ll have the kids do interactive movements, and then we’ll read a couple age-appropriate books as well and then usually do a craft project.


SM: What types of books do elementary age children or their parents usually check out?

MR: Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Dork Diaries, Bad Kitty, Princess in Black series, Percy Jackson and the Olympians, Captain Underpants, Big Nate, Warrior Cats, and the Dog Man series would be some of the most popular books.


SM: Are there any favorite books during Storytime that the kids especially get interactive with?

MR: I think for a lot of kids, a series is a great tool. They get excited about reading with the same people because they are familiar with the characters. They kinda know what’s gonna happen in the story, but they can just get into it because it is a series. 

For the preschool age, I would say, there is a really great dinosaur series by Jane Yolen. And then Pete the Cat is always a good one, too—very popular with the kids. And then for older kids, GeronimoStilton books are really popular. Along with that, the Magic Tree House series is a popular choice still to this day.


SM: What is the best part about working in the children's section?

MR: I love interacting and building relationships with the families and getting to know our patrons by name. There are a lot of tiny little kids that come here every week, and just getting to know them and see them grow and get excited about books—that’s the best part.


After finishing this interview, some interesting things that I noticed was how many books I personally read when I was a kid are still popular to this day. Books like the Magic Tree House series, Diary of a Wimpy Kid series and Percy Jackson and the Olympians are just a few.


I hope this article has given you more insight into the phrase “don’t judge a book by its cover.” If it’s been awhile since you last cracked open a book, pay Marcia a visit and she’ll direct you to your next adventure.




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