CHB Interviews: Alexis Gutierrez

As promised, children's librarian Alexis Gutierrez of the CH library branch answered some questions for CHB about our local branch and how to get involved: When did the CH branch first open? 1974. (For more branch history and trivia, click here ) Is there any remodeling planned for the near future? Clinton Hill is certainly due for a renovation-- we would love more space and central air, just to name a few things!  However, due to the current economic situation, all construction and physical branch improvement projects have been pushed back by a few years. Just last year, Clinton Hill was one of the next libraries in line for a renovation, but unfortunately the renovation was pushed back to 2013.

How long have you been working at the CH Branch? Since February 2008 Have you worked at other branches?  If so, what sets the CH branch apart? I've only worked at this branch. But from visiting many of BPL's other 59 locations, it's clear to see it is definitely one of the smaller and busier branches! A few of the things that make CH special are our bookdrop for returning books (only a few libraries have them anymore) and our book donation bins. They are a simple free pile, no strings attached-- sometimes you can find some real treasures there!

What is the best part about being a children's librarian? I really love sharing stories with younger kids and talking about what to read next with older kids! Kids always see special little things in the books that I don't right away. It's also nice to find the perfect book for a child who doesn't see themselves as liking reading that much, and watch as they actually enjoy it.

What kinds of events does the CH branch hold, and how can we find out about them? The branch offers programs for kids, teens, and adults. For adults, we have things like movies, book discussions, author visits, and general interest presentations. For teens, we have visiting artists and performers from time to time. And for kids, we have storytimes, visiting artists and performers, arts and crafts programs, and games. To find out about them, visit and select "Clinton Hill"-- you'll see a list of everything going on. You can also pick up a monthly calendar of events at the branch. Anything fun going on this summer? Yes! Summer Reading '09: Be Creative! starts June 4th. Summer Reading is a great way to connect with others who like to read, while reading what you want at your own pace. Fun activities are happening in libraries all summer long and everyone, from babies to adults, can sign up. And it's free! For a list of Summer Reading events and booklists for all ages, visit Register at any BPL location beginning June 4th.

What is the best way to volunteer or otherwise help the branch? Right now, as you have heard, is a really critical time for the library. We face massive budget cuts that could cut our public service hours down to 25 hours a week, which means the library won't be open mornings, after 6pm, or weekends. Please, if you can, write to your city council member and the Mayor letting them know you do not support this funding cut. Let your friends and family know what's could happen to all of Brooklyn Public Library's 60 locations if this cut goes through. What is your favorite aspect of the neighborhood? The G train-- just kidding!  I like how people here really value books, stories, history, education, culture, and their library. I meet interesting people all the time. I moved to Brooklyn from Indiana two years ago and worked in the library there, and noticed right away that people read more here.  And of course I like the tree-lined streets.

If you were a favorite flavor of ice cream, what would you be and why? Coffee-- sweet and caffeinated!

Robin, if people have questions about the library, would you send them my way or pass along our phone number-- 398-8713 ext. 5? I am finishing up 3 classes for my Masters in Library Science right now and probably can't check the blog for comments as much as usual, but would still like to help with reader's questions if there are any. Thanks! -Alexis