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Familiar Faces: Youth librarian enjoys Renaissance faires, Harry Potter books

By: Menka Belgal Telegraph Correspondent
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Carolyn Brooks has worn many hats in the past. She was a credentialed teacher for 20 years in the Bay Area, an educational consultant and even had her own Interior Design business in El Dorado Hills. However, her masters degree in Library and Information Sciences has lead her to her current job. It’s one that she has wanted to do for a long time — a Youth Services Librarian at the El Dorado Hills Library, where she’s been for the past four years. What do you love most about your job? I love working with children and books — it just doesn’t get any better than that. What is the most interesting thing that’s happened to you? The most interesting thing that has ever happened to me is having my three sons. They are the foundation of my life and every day is a new adventure. Those adventures have been scary, such as when my son’s lung collapsed for no apparent reason (twice) and he had to have surgery or when one of my boys almost completely severed his brother’s finger with a hatchet — accidentally, of course. Other adventures have also been thrilling: watching them take their first steps, starting school, besting their dad in a sword fight, getting a driver’s license, going to college. These incredible adventures have also been full of love, hugs and kisses. Family is the best. What are your three favorite books? My favorite three books are “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” by Eric Carle, The Harry Potter series by JK Rowling and “One Smile” by Cindy McKinley. I try to live my life by the concept of “One Smile,” that one smile can change the world. What is your favorite movie and why? My favorite movie at the moment is “Blind Side.” My family and I love this movie because it clearly demonstrates how a single act can change the world, even if it is the just the world of one child. What hobbies do you enjoy? Well, I think that everyone could probably guess that my favorite hobby is reading. I also enjoy storytelling and Renaissance re-enactment, which also always me to indulge in my other favorite hobby, sewing. What about your family? My family consists of my husband, Ken, my three sons, Jake, Alec and James, my unofficially adopted son, Sam (he is a child of my heart), one dog, one bird and many fish. We all live together in a house full of testosterone and homemade cookies. My mother and all of my aunts and uncles live within 10 minutes of us. My family is very close. What causes are you passionate about? I am passionate about children, about literacy, and about families. What is one thing about you people might be surprised to learn? I suspect that people might be surprised to learn that I am half Hispanic. My mother spoke only Spanish until she was 5 and went to kindergarten. I am tremendously proud of my mother’s family. They have achieved such amazing things. My abuela finished high school here in the U.S., but my abuelo did not. However, my abuela believed fiercely in school, and all of her children graduated from college, two of them with Master’s degrees and one with a doctorate from Stanford in Nuclear Engineering. My mom is now a retired English professor and she raised me to be proud of my culture, to hold family as the most important part of my life and to know that I could do anything I wanted to do. If you have a Familiar Faces idea, suggest it to the writer at twitter.com/mbelgal.