I grew up in and around small farming towns in eastern Kansas and moved to Overland Park (a suburb of Kansas City) in 1996. In my current position as Youth Services Librarian for the Johnson County Library, I provide storytimes for preschoolers, homework help for school-age children and teens, reader services, outreach programs to schools and daycares, and library administrative duties as needed.
I was first bitten by the performance bug in 2nd grade when I was chosen to be the narrator of our school Christmas play. A gymnasium filled with people relying on me to get the story. I firmly believe it was that Christmas play that foreshadowed my storytelling future. High school and college drama was the first organized environment for storytelling in which I had participated. Afterwards I began to explore the realm of storytelling possibilities.
Through my job, I have told stories at libraries and schools; at conferences and festivals. I have a particular fondness for American folktales especially regional tales of the Midwest and the Ozark Mountains. I also enjoy stories that rely on music and audience participation to tell the tale. I tell stories to illustrate points, enliven uninspiring topics, and entertain the masses.
In addition to my M.S. in Library Science, I also possess an academic certificate in Storytelling. To satisfy the requirements for this certificate, I completed courses titled “Storytelling for the Information Professional,” “Advanced Storytelling,” and an independent study section called “Storytelling Pedagogy.” These classes broadened my understanding about the power of stories, story research, methods of performance, and performance preparation. I have attended workshops lead by puppeteer and author Judy Nichols and nationally known storyteller Beth Horner. Currently, I am on the clinical teaching staff at the University of North Texas leading the online discussion and grading portions of Advanced Storytelling.
I own an odd assortment of musical instruments some of which I can actually play. My favorite is an antique student-sized accordion I picked up at an auction several years ago. I also play the trumpet, mellophone, and autoharp which I have successfully used in storytime and storytelling programs. I have years of training in vocal music and have an intense interest in stage acting.
In addition to music, my hobbies include gardening, home improvement projects, thrift stores, and travel. I have a new found love of cruise ship vacations and am always on a countdown to my next sailing. I also spend a great deal of time dusting my glass & ceramic cookie jar collection.