Out and About

Jun 10, 2014 2:51 PM by Jeanette Trompeter

Out and About: Librarian Liz

In these days of tablets, smart-phones and computer screens that can read a book to you as easily as they can play a movie or video game, it's not always easy to get kids fired up about picking up a book. That is, unless they get Out and About to the home of a San Luis Obispo woman.

When people talk about doing something because it's a labor of love, it's usually because they love what they're doing, or they love who they're doing it for. In Liz Krieger's case, it's both.

A librarian at the San Luis Obispo library for decades, she now plays a similar role at a different location. "Let's see what kind of books do you like?" she asked a 6th grader who is wandering the stacks of books. Liz now plays librarian out of her home.

Liz and her husband Dan share their living space with thousands of books, and every now and then a class full of kids from Hawthorne Elementary. Liz has spent years collecting the books, and it's a process that never stops. "We took a drive to Minnesota and Wyoming two years ago. We had to stop all along the way and pick up books." she said.

Liz spends days getting ready for every visit from the kids, starting with a questionaire sent to each and every one before they walk in the door. "Do they read for fun or not? How much TV and video games do they watch every day? What are their hobbies? What do they want to do when they grow up?" Liz explained the kind of questions she asks.

By the time they walk in, they have books waiting just for them. "Liz possibly has stayed up all night picking out special books for every child...like soccer books for Eduardo, and Magic Tree House for Trinity." said Laura Kirschner , Resource Specialist at Hawthorne Elementary.

Then the teasure hunt begins. "Any of these books that you would love, just have fun!" Liz instructs the kids as they are about do embark in their search for new discoveries in her home. Kids are blown away by what they can find at Liz's house.

I asked her "Do you have the first Charlie Brown book." said student Andrew Vanderweele. "And she's said, 'Oh yeah, I totally do.'" he chucked. "So I took it home that night."

There are no library cards, no fees, no donations necessary. Kids can bring the books back, pass them on, or Liz would love to see them start building their own libraries. "It's just amazing she will just go to bookstores and just buy books and then give them away for free." said Andrew. "She's such a kind-hearted person."

"Basically everyone who comes to Liz's house which is basically the whole third through 6th grade at Hawthorne school, is learning about loving reading." said Kirschner.

"Because she explains how the characters and everything work and it's exciting how she explains it." said 6th grader Sheyla Resendiz who says she started reading more after coming to Liz's house.

And why does Liz do it? Because while she loves tablets too, there's something about wandering a room full of books and discovering something that just catches your eye...and your attention when you open it's pages. Liz is making sure kids get that experience.

"I would stay I'm still pushing books." Liz is in the middle of explaining to a reporter when a kid yells as he's walking out the door "Thank you Liz!"

She immediate stops the interview and turns to yell to the child before the door shuts behind him. "I love you! Bye Eduardo! See you soon!" A labor of love indeed.

Not only do Liz and Dan have a library in their home and invite the students from Hawthorne for visits, but they pick up the tab for the lunch served to the kids when they come.



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