Ariel Zeitlin, Programming Librarian at Montclair Public Library

Ariel Zeitlin, Programming Librarian at Montclair Public Library

Ariel Zeitlin, Programming Librarian at Montclair Public Library

Ariel Zeitlin is a programming librarian at Montclair Public Library in New Jersey.

Podcast

Overview

Seeking information or wishing to enter into a new world? We know books are our saviors. With the vast amount of information available on the Internet, a librarian’s role to recommend the books we long for becomes essential. With the pandemic and online availability of books, we cannot underestimate the job of a librarian. Picking the right material to read as per our need is after all very important. 

Today, we have with us Ariel Zeitlin, a senior librarian at Montclair Public Library who takes us into her magical world of books as she dives deep into her everyday job roles.

About Ariel Zeitlin

Ariel Zeitlin is a literary enthusiast and thus, does what brings her closest to the books. She is a senior librarian at Montclair Public Library. She has also worked as a travel writer, movie producer, and writer.

As an enthusiast librarian, she runs several book clubs, working towards building communities of people to come together and share their interests in books. Through this community, she aims at touching the empathic sides of human beings and helping people in ways they don’t realize they need help. Let’s tune in to learn more about her work. 

DISCUSSION

Ariel talks about the beauty of her job, which allows people to share all kinds of stories with her. She calls it a relationship of “familiar strangers.”  

She constantly brings her contacts from her earlier days as a writer by curating conversations with best-selling authors.

Building Community

She states that the biggest joy of being a librarian is about sharing. She explains:

“Books that we read and ideas that we hold bring us together. Books unite us with other people. When I see someone read one of my favorite books, I feel like I know them. It brings people together.”

She is so passionate about the idea of sharing, that she runs book clubs as well, where they all read the same book and talk about it. 

Lockdown, Writers, Books & Themes

She talks about how most of the writers didn’t find the lockdown different from their usual days as they are mostly inside living with the characters. 

Further, she talks about the process of the writers to write a book or rather build a book. She says: “A book is like a vast meta-like expanse where there can be different vignettes and different ideas running through it and different threads.”

Impact of her work

Ariel recalls her early days as a school librarian in Newark, which is a book desert owing to very few bookstores in the city. She states how she enjoyed giving books to kids & having opened their worlds. She rightly says: “The book is both a window and a mirror.”

Talking further about the impact of her work, she feels proud to encourage fiction reading among her community as she feels that makes a human more empathetic. 

Profile

Ariel Zeitlin is a programming librarian at Montclair Public Library in New Jersey. She coordinates the library’s top author conversation program, Open Book / Open Mind Online, which hosts literary luminaries such as Ann Patchett, Jhumpa Lahiri, Isabel Wilkerson, Charles Blow, and more. Before entering librarianship, Zeitlin was involved with a wide variety of creative media project; she was associate producer of the short documentary “A Little Vicious,” which was nominated for an Academy Award, and curated a textile exhibition, The Weavings of War, that traveled to 12 venues in the U.S. She lives in New Jersey with her partner, her daughter, and her three cats.

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