Ten Things We Didn't Know About Librarian Karen Storz

15 October 2015

With a passion for education and international issues, Primary Source Librarian Karen Storz looks forward to supporting teachers with professional development opportunities in the areas of world histories and cultures. New to the organization as of this fall, Karen sat down with us and gave us a peek into her hobbies and interests.

Have a favorite teacher?
Special kudos go to my 7th grade Social Studies teacher, who chose me — a girl! — to play the role of President McKinley in a class debate. Not only did she flout the usual gender expectations of a 1970s classroom, but she also challenged me to really wrestle with historical evidence and try to see the world from a perspective very different from my own. All these years later, I clearly remember agonizing over whether or not to go to war with Spain!

Favorite “banned book”?
To Kill a Mockingbird

Most absurd encounter with censorship?
When I worked as an editor, I once had to ask an artist to remove the udder from a cow in her drawing for a high school German textbook. Apparently it was one of those things that could keep your textbook from getting adopted in Texas.

Favorite thing to do with books when you’re not reading them?
Make book spine poems! Like the one to the right:

A memorable experience while living abroad?
Performing with the university orchestra at the spectacular Berliner Philharmonie (home of the Berlin Philharmonic) while a student in Berlin. 

A treasured family heirloom?
A book signed by baseball legend Jackie Robinson to my father. As a star cross-country runner in high school, my dad was invited to appear on the television show “Jackie Robinson’s Sports Classroom,” along with other high school athletes from New York City. I don’t think any tape of the 1951 broadcast exists, but I’m still looking!

Any unusual hobbies?
Collecting ephemera, like vintage wrapping paper and postcards of old hotels and motels. Also, brewing beer, although I haven’t done that in a while. My husband and I brewed and bottled beer for our wedding and called it MatrimonyAle.

Favorite new resource in the Primary Source Library?
I just cataloged four wonderful Global Education Resource Kits from Heifer International. Each is focused on a different country (Armenia, Uganda, China, and the United States) and centered around a book that tells a story related to Heifer’s work there. There are also lessons plans aligned to National Standards, videos, and activity ideas to inspire students to get involved and help their communities and the world. The kits are geared to different grade levels ranging from pre-K to grade 6. Come check them out!  

What books are on your desk right now?
Jacqueline Woodson’s Brown Girl Dreaming and Noo Saro-Wiwa’s Looking for Transwonderland. Woodson’s memoir-in-verse is the first book we’re reading in the Primary Source Book Group this year, and Saro-Wiwa’s memoir is our Global Read, to be featured in our live, online discussion with the author on December 2. I’m loving them both.

Librarian true confession?
My books at home are shelved completely haphazardly.



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