Book Haven

Book Haven

Holly Noon, Copy Editor

From juicy cliff hangers, suspenseful plot lines, dramatic love stories, to dangerous adventures, readers all around enjoy these types of novels. Through Kansas public libraries, junior Lauren McGrath has the opportunity to edit all types of novels and take surveys for major publishing companies to review before they hit the shelves.
“I’ve always read since I was real little,” McGrath said. “I would just read books and that’s all I really did, and it has never really gone away.”
By being a part of the Young Adult Advisory Council (YAAC), McGrath said she expresses her passion for books by helping out publishing companies and reviewing novels by some of her favorite authors. As a part of YAAC, she goes to the library once a month and takes books from a stack provided, edits and reviews them, then returns the books for others to review. Once she is done she can trade her edited book for a new one to begin editing. After reading each book she goes online to the library website, takes a survey and writes a review based on her opinion of the book and suggestions that could be made.
“[The other members of YAAC and I] go up to the library to chat about books and think about how we could make the library better,” McGrath said.
McGrath said the suggestions and comments she makes on books help the library decide whether they should offer the book. It also allows the publishing company to see if the suggested audience is interested in the book and can predict sales. She reads all genres of books including romance, science fiction, and her favorite, fantasy.
“Fantasy books [are my favorite because] I’ve always enjoyed the idea of escaping into a different world and seeing a reality that’s different from my own,” McGrath said.
Her decision to join YAAC was influenced by her mother, Erin McGrath, who encouraged her to join after she heard about this library program for teenagers. Since she was very little Erin said she read books to McGrath every single night and when she started to read on her own they would switch off chapters until she read all on her own. She said they used to go to the library every week to check out new books as well.
“Her passion from books is just her nature, it’s who she is; she’s very creative and loves the places books can take you,” Erin said.
She said she has always had an interest in being involved with the library and reading books so she decided to become a part of YAAC.
“I’ve always liked books, because I kind of raised myself with books, and just being in the library is really fun for me,” McGrath said.
McGrath said books have played a huge role in her life even at a young age. She said she remembers her mother being very busy when she was a child, and often took her to the library to gather some books to check out.
“I read so many books when I was younger because I didn’t have much to do [because] my mom worked a lot,” McGrath said. “I liked to read because books have been something to pass the time and given me a new world to look at and experience…”
McGrath said she enjoys going to YAAC to be with her friends and others who share a similar interest in books. Being able to read unpublished books allows McGrath to get a head start on reading sequels to some of her favorite novels by her favorite authors. Along with the enjoyment of reading books, she said she enjoys the feeling of the importance she experiences when she edits books for the publishing companies.
“Because I’ve been reading for so long, I can tell if some things have been written well and I have an eye for detail, because of that I am partial to language,” McGrath said.
Erin said YAAC has taught McGrath to expand her interests by getting out and reading different types of novels. It has also allowed her to meet with a group of people who have similar interest to discuss these various books.
“[McGrath] has a strong passion for books which helps in a lot realms,” Erin said. “The more people she reads, the more of an efficient reader she become.”
McGrath said she hopes to continue being a part of YAAC and help out the library as much as she can before she leaves for college next year. McGrath plans on becoming either an author or an editor in the future because of all she has learned at YAAC.
“I think it’s given me a better look at how books are made and how much work goes into them, as well as how much work goes into the library,” McGrath said.
Through with her work in the library, McGrath said she developed an interest in writing. She expresses her passion of literature during all hours of the day. She carries around a laptop to take notes during her classes and during her down time and writes stories based on the events of her day. She said her interest in reading jump-started her interest for writing. Using her newly gained knowledge from YAAC, McGrath said she can use what she’s learned to become a better writer, reader and editor all while she can share her opinion of books by her favorite authors.
“Anyone can join YAAC, it’s really a haven for anyone who likes books,” McGrath said. “Books are awesome and everyone should read books.”