PEPPERELL -- Although no one seemed willing to brave the stormy weather on Tuesday night to come out for Lawrence Library's Subversive Story Time in honor of Banned Books Week, Katrina Lewin was not discouraged. She's been enjoying her new role as the children's librarian far too much to let the evening's low attendance get her down. Patrons who have attended the children's story times or popped downstairs into the kid's section the past few weeks are likely to recognize her, though they know her by a different name.
"Around here, I'm known as Miss Kat," she said with a grin.
Lewin, who has a master's degree in library and information sciences from Simmons College, moved from Florida to take the position at Lawrence in late August. She now lives in Hollis, N.H.
"For me it was a dream job," she said. "It has been wonderful. I just love it here."
Already, Lewin has jumped into her new role with enthusiasm. In addition to instituting some new organizational practices for the library's extensive children's collection, she has also begun planning several upcoming programs. In celebration of Halloween, Lewin will be hosting a spooky craft event the week beforehand, and a Halloween story time and a costume parade on Oct. 31.
"Costumes are optional, but encouraged," said Lewin, who will be dressing up as Fancy Nancy.
Then, on Nov. 3, Lewin has organized Zombie Day. Attendees will be invited to watch zombie episodes from shows ranging from "The Twilight Zone" to the cartoon "Batman.
She has also begun the monthly Lego club, available for children of all ages; children under 8 need to be accompanied by a parent. At the first meeting, 31 children from ages 2 to 12 turned out. Thanks to the generous donations of town residents, Lewin said she received a garbage bag full of Legos, four gallon-sized bags and numerous complete kits, including instructions.
Lewin's love of books extends beyond the perimeter of the children's room at Lawrence. For the past three years, Lewin has authored a blog called "Kat Cooks the Books."
"It matches children's literature with food; I cook food in the books or inspired by the books," she said.
Lewin has made everything from "Alice in Wonderland" eat-me cakes to Harry Potter's butter beer. Her original inspiration came from the beloved Amelia Bedelia series.
Those familiar with Amelia Bedelia are aware of the character's ridiculous antics that consistently upset other characters in the books.
"But everything is always okay in the end because she makes a delicious but off-beat dish," said Lewin.
One such dish that Lewin tried was chocolate chip cookies, made out of chocolate cookie dough and potato chips.
"I just thought they sounded delicious," said Lewin.
Her blog now has around 70 similar postings.
In celebration of Banned Books Week and the Subversive Story Time, Lewin baked "And Tango Makes Three" penguin sugar cookies. She will also be making themed snacks for Zombie Day.
Lewin said she plans on being the children's librarian long-term and to share her love of reading, positive attitude and energy with the patrons.
"I want to foster a love of reading in people of all ages. You see so much more of the world when you read," she said. "I feel so fortunate to have a job where I get to share what I love with everybody who comes to the library."