Sarah Jio

Sarah Jio: 'It was our favorite day of the week'

"As a teen, I would wander through the library... to escape my teenage angst at home."

Well, I remember in particular, especially during the summer, my mother would take me and my siblings. So, I'm the oldest of four kids. She would drag us all in the car to the library. It was our favorite day of the week.

We'd load our backpacks up with books and my especially favorite memories were of storytime as a child, and being able to go and listen to the librarian tell stories in particular a library in Kitsap  County in Washington State that had a little room with a child's door. It was very imaginative. The children could go through the small door to the storytime.

And as a teen, I would wander through the library as a place to go to kind of escape my teenage angst at home and so libraries were always a wonderful home for me, a second  home for me growing up.

When I needed a book recommendation there was always a librarian to point me in the right direction.  From the time of being a young little girl to a college-age student looking for something to escape from school books.

So, absolutely, I found real treasures in libraries. I can think of so many wonderful memories of school librarians just introducing me to books I still love and now read to my children. All of the lovely Newbery and Caldecott Award winners, and in particular, I remember gathering around in a circle reading "James and the Giant Peach" with a librarian in my school, at Brownsville Elementary in Silverdale Washington, and it's like it was yesterday, the feeling of excitement, sitting in the library being read to as a absolutely...absolutely.

I have three little boys and they're ages 6, 4 and 2, so life is very wild in my house, and we love the library, because it's a chance for us to go and have an outing. The children love to pick out books, so I drag the boys out to the library once a week and we stack up our bags with new books, and the kids look forward to it.

My 4-year-old is into pirates, and so the librarian shows me where to go for the pirate children's books. My 6-year-old is into dragons and and we stock up on dragon books. And the 2-year-old just sort of thinks it's great to pull the books off the shelves, which I'm very sorry to the librarians... I understand this is kind of a pain.

[On budget cuts]

Yeah, it's upsetting, especially as a patron, certainly, to go to the library and find out that it's closed one day of the week because of budget cuts and shortage of parking ramp around some libraries, and so it's frustrating from a personal side, because I do use libraries, and I do love them.

So I try to be on the lookout for ways that I can support our local libraries in Seattle by being part of the fundraising efforts, and just to champion libraries.

[On censorship]

In my family it's a personal decision, what we read, and I like that my children and I have the choice to make that decision for ourselves. As a parent, there are alot of variables to that, but I like to have a full range of books available and I like to be able to make that choice myself rather than have the choice made for me.

"The Last Cameilia" is my fourth novel and that will be out on May 28th from Peguin (Plume). It's a story about a woman who stumbles upon a great mystery in a manor house in England that happens back in the 1940s. And so my story is told in 2 voices, 2 narrators, and we get to learn about this mystery that unfolds, really in 2 time periods. I had a lot of fun writing it and I hope everyone will enjoy it. 

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Library Name: 

Kitsap County (Wash.) Libraries