Q&A: Children’s librarian discovers career by chance

Tawna Luscombe grew up in Roosevelt County, living in Portales and Causey during her school years. After high school, Luscombe went to Clovis Community College and worked as an office manager and pharmacy technician before she became the children's librarian at the Portales Public Library.

She has been married (Paul) for almost 15 years and has a 6-year-old son, and an 11-year-old daughter, both of whom are avid readers and active in sports. The family also has three Labradors, Rocky, Lucy, and Penelope and enjoys camping.

Jillian Holbert: Portales News-Tribune

Tawna Luscombe reads a children's book during story time at the Portales Public Library. Luscombe is the library's children's librarian and handpicks its collection.

What inspired you to become a children's librarian?

It was by chance really. I was working as an office manager and pharmacy technician at a local pharmacy and when it closed unexpectedly, I applied for and became the circulation supervisor with the library. Five years later, when the children's librarian position was open, I thought maybe it was something that I would enjoy doing and I've been in children's librarian ever since.

What's your favorite children's book and author?

How can I pick just one? There are so many great books out there and I find new favorites every week; however, you really can't go wrong with Mo Willems. His illustrations and humor are perfect every time.

What makes a good children's book?

Good children's books have simple ideas, strong characters, spark the imagination, are written with a light touch and are relateable to the child reading them. A book that is good for one might not be all that good for the next, but with so many different authors and books to choose from, one is sure to find something they love.

How do you come up with story time ideas?

Most of the time, I try to base themes on books that I'd like to showcase and then build around them. For crafts and such, I have a large stash of ideas from previous librarians and I read different librarian and parenting blogs. In the last few months, Pinterest has become my new friend with access to all kinds of fun stuff.

What is it like working with kids on a regular basis?

The kids are the best part of this job. They definitely keep me on my toes and entertained. It's been fun and rewarding to watch most of them grow from babies and preschoolers at story time to big school kids. There are not many jobs that allow you to play, read, sing, be silly and generally act like a kid and get paid for it.

What is your favorite part of your job? What are some of the drawbacks?

The kids are my most favorite part of my job. They are so funny and honest and they allow me to be a kid right along with them. I have excellent co-workers that keep me laughing and that's a big plus. Programs are a lot of fun, but they do require a lot of work and planning. In the end though, the rewards greatly outweigh any drawbacks, so I'd say that I don't really have much to complain about.

Did reading play a big part in your life growing up? What were some of the stories that inspired you?

My mom always read to me and my brothers when we were little and I think that's why I love to read so much now. Robert the Rose Horse is my all-time favorite from when I was little, I had many titles from Judy Blume that I loved in my tween years and I adored Cold Sassy Tree as a young adult.

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