Kris Zimmerman’s profession was within the books – Loveland Reporter-Herald

Kris Zimmerman spent so many years reading to children at the Loveland Public Library that many guests asked her if she was Ms. Runschmunkel, the fictional namesake of the children’s reading room in the library.

No, Zimmerman is not rumbling, although she is known to many children and others who visit the library.

Zimmerman recently retired after 35 years in the library. Today she talks about her job and her passion.

1) Did you choose this profession or did this profession choose you?

This profession chose me. My bachelor’s degree is in elementary school with a focus on early childhood. I was a substitute teacher in the Thompson School District for about six months after graduation when I saw the job advertisement for a library assistant willing to tell stories. I got the job and over the years it went from one story time a week to six to seven story times a week. It was the perfect solution for me to combine my love of reading and working with young children.

2) How has the purpose of a library changed as the Internet became more important?

I’m not sure the purpose of the library has changed. What has changed is the way the library provides its services. It is still a place that has access to and information for everyone. When I started it was mostly through material items that you checked out and returned. These services are still offered, but now you can check out e-books, access databases online, and even virtually view stories and other programs. You do not have to enter the library and you can still use many of its resources. For those who do not have internet access at home, they can use the computer lab and the iCreate area.

3) What advice would you give a parent who is having trouble getting their child to read?

I would encourage them to allow their children to read what they want. There are so many graphic novels out there that are different from traditional books, but still involve reading. Another great choice would be an audiobook that follows the book. Audiobooks are available online or in person in the library. They even have kits that include a player and book together. My last tip is to read together as a family. Reading for your children can continue in middle and high school. Make reading comfortable!

4) Who is your favorite author and why?

One of my favorite children’s authors that I read to children is David Wiesner. His books are almost wordless so it’s great to share the storytelling with the kids as we look at the illustrations and decide what happens. For my personal reading, I enjoy both Ann Patchett and Sena Jeter Naslund. I like stories that deal with their characters’ lives. I like to be drawn into their worlds.

5) If you could visit a library – from now on or in ancient times – which one would you visit and why?

I love visiting all of the libraries! When we travel my husband gives in to my need to visit the library in this area. I have not yet visited the New York Public Library or the Library of Congress. They are icons both in the size of their collection and in the architecture of the buildings themselves.

Kris Zimmerman

Occupation: Children’s Librarian (Recently Retired)

Age: 58

Years in Loveland: 44

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