5 questions for...Helene Murtha, Fairfield's head librarian

FAIRFIELD — When the library board of trustees began a search for a new town librarian, it cast a wide net.

However, it ended up promoting someone who was already working at the Fairfield Public Library: Helene Murtha. Murtha, a Fairfield University graduate, had spent the previous year as the head of Children’s Services for the town’s library before taking the helm in November.

Before returning to Fairfield, Murtha, 54, was the library media specialist for the Eastchester Union Free School District in Eastchester, N.Y., and prior to that, she was a children’s librarian in Yonkers, N.Y.

With a lifelong love of libraries and reading, it would only seem natural that Murtha has ended up in charge of a library. But it wasn’t always her destiny. In fact, after graduating from college, Murtha spent the next 13 years in banking on Wall Street.

It was after that that Murtha turned to teaching, and while working as a teacher, she said she thought about what the favorite part of the school was — the library. And that’s when her transition to librarian began.

With snow seemingly always on the horizon these days, there may be no better time to curl up with a good book. Murtha talks about what she likes to read and how to get kids interested in reading.

Q: Were you always a reader?

A: Yes.

Q: What were some of your favorite books growing up and why?

A: I loved everything by Judy Blume. I was the oldest of four and “Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing” spoke to me in regards to my feelings about my siblings. I also was a mystery fan — Nancy Drew, Hardy Boys, Encyclopedia Brown.

Q: What are you reading right now?

A: “The Immortalists,” by Chloe Benjamin.

Q: What are some ways parents can encourage youngsters to read and nurture a love of reading?

A: Take your children to the library. We are here, ready to connect you to just the right reading material for you. Plus, there is so much more at the library than books.

Listening to books during a car ride is a great way to get children interested in a series or genre.

Some children prefer nonfiction; be willing to read about subjects your child is interested in.

Don’t just see the movie — read the book. There are tons of family movies based upon books; explore together and see how the versions differ.

Magazines are reading too. Reluctant readers can find the prospect of a book daunting. Magazines can often provide them with some reading success.

Q: What is your preference — actual books you can hold in your hand or digital versions?

A: Actual books, but I always have an audio book on my phone and ebook on my iPad. It is great to have 24-hour access to Fairfield Public Library’s digital collections any time you want to read or watch.