Katherine here, writing from a subterranean wine cellar that was once used by the French Resistance. Say what you want about spies, but we never forget our roots.

A lot of people tend to underestimate how far the spy network extends. Ahna and I work for a publishing company, where books originate. But beyond our central hub, there’s a large web of people who are also instrumental in getting books into readers’ hands: teachers, librarians, parents. We’re in all the everyday places you don’t bother searching.

Earlier this week, Ahna and I arranged a clandestine meeting with our fellow agent Jessica Anne Bratt, currently in deep cover as a youth services librarian for the Grand Rapids Public Library, to find out more about what she does. Jessica is bright and bubbly and approachable. You’d never know she has higher security clearance than most members of the Department of Defense.

Of course, HQ considered some parts of our conversation to be classified, and thus unfit to share with the general public. Oh, how they wish that was enough to stop me.

We asked Jessica how she manages to give good book recommendations to the library’s many patrons, especially the people she’s never met before.

She also gave us some good insight as to how the role of a children’s librarian differs from that of a general librarian.

A special thanks to Jessica Bratt and Kristen Krueger-Corrado of GRPL for being so accommodating and knowledgeable.

And with that, I have to sign off. I just discovered a bricked over secret passageway and must now explore it (obviously).

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About Coffee Break Confidential:

This monthly column is where EBYR editorial assistant/vlogger/superspy Katherine Gibson divulges extra information from Coffee Break with EBYR that would otherwise be kept off the record. She’s researching topics related to children’s literature, posting her findings — and taking down some powerful militarized governments in the process. Just kidding about that last one. (Or are we?)