Nfld. & Labrador

This 10-year-old bookworm became N.L.'s youngest librarian — for a day

After winning a contest, Kirsten O'Leary got to spend a day exploring the inner workings of the A.C. Hunter Library. 

Kirsten O'Leary was in charge of recommending and ordering books for next season

Kirsten O'Leary became the junior librarian for the day at the A.C. Hunter library in St. John's after winning a contest. (Meg Roberts/CBC)

She isn't even old enough to register herself for a library card, but 10-year-old Kirsten O'Leary's love of books put her in charge of lending them out — for a day.

A self-proclaimed bookworm, O'Leary spent her Tuesday at the A.C. Hunter Library in St. John's as the Newfoundland and Labrador's first-ever junior librarian for the day, after winning a contest for the honour.

O'Leary picked out books for the seasonal hot releases, ordered books for libraries across the province and recommended titles on the library's social media platforms.

"The more I do it, the more excited I get," said O'Leary, a few hours into her shift.

One of her picks is the book series Owl Diaries, which features the friendships and adventures of a young owl named Eva Wingdale.

The adult librarians at A.C. Hunter appreciated O'Leary's expert advice.

"We are so excited to have her say 'hey this is really cool and maybe you don't have enough of this,'" said Leigha Chiasson-Locke.

On top of getting tween reading tips, Chiasson-Locke said the junior librarian job is also about children getting the opportunity to spend more time amid the stacks.

At the A.C. Hunter Library alone, 600 kids participated in the summer reading program, and she wants them to stick around.

"We have a lot of readers, we have a lot of kids that are really excited by the library, who love to come into the library and I thought … what if we give them an opportunity to see what it's like," she said.

"How can we help them become lifelong library users?"

Kirsten O'Leary, centre is joined by her mother, Connie O'Leary, left, and the provincial children's librarian, Leigha Chiasson-Locke (right). (Janelle Kelly/CBC)

O'Leary said she wasn't fully convinced being a librarian was the career path for her, but she's not ruling it out.

"It seems pretty fun to be a librarian," she said.

Kirsten O'Leary "weeds" through the books, a process where books are taken from the AC Hunter Library and transported to others across the province. (Meg Roberts/CBC)

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