Jamie Macris, who has lived and worked in North Canton for more than 21 years, serves as the head of the Children’s Department at the North Canton Public Library.
She was raised in Plain Township by her two parents, Jim and Doreen Doud, along with three “amazing sisters:” DeAnn, Sondra and Tracey.
“I graduated from GlenOak High School in 1996 and graduated with a BA in English from Kent State University in 2000,” Macris said. “In 2000, I also married my high school sweetheart, George Macris. Our daughter, Kori, was born in 2006 and is now a sophomore at Hoover High School.”
Macris has always loved dogs and currently has three: Leia, Jovie and Milo. Ella’s first job was at Music Oasis as a high school student where she said, “I spent most of my paychecks.” She later worked seasonally at B. Dalton bookstore and at Akron Porcelain and Plastics.
After she graduated from college, Jamie applied for a position at the North Canton Public Library and soon after became a library associate in the Children’s Department. In 2011, she was promoted to head the department.
Why did you want to be a children’s librarian?
I always wanted to work with books in some way or another. I started to really love to read around fifth grade, thanks to the “Baby-Sitters Club” series, and I would spend all of my extra time reading, even if that meant bringing a book to my sister’s marching band halftime shows.
I loved long car trips because that meant new books!
I had no doubt when I entered college that working on my English literature degree would be the best fit for me. I also had a wonderful experience in college volunteering at a local Head Start program in a preschool where I learned I really liked working with children. Working at the library in the Children’s Department was a perfect opportunity.
What are some of your favorite children’s books and why?
Some of my favorite children’s books from my childhood included “Little Critter” books and “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” by Eric Carle. The illustrations are wonderful.
Later, I loved “Baby-Sitters Club,” probably because there are many personalities portrayed in the series and I felt a connection with the shy Mary-Anne.
Once I had my own daughter, I fell in love with Mo Willem’s “Piggie and Elephant” beginner books. They are so fun to read together with your child! As someone who loves to see kids find the joy of reading, I love “Dog-Man,” “Narwhal and Jelly” books, Harry Potter, poems by Shel Silverstein, and so much more.
Would you share some of your other favorite pastimes (besides reading)?
I am a story addict. So, obviously, reading is one way I really enjoy spending my time, but I also love watching movies and TV shows and I can binge watch with the best of them.
I also play video games, board games, and love any chance to play card games, especially Nertz or euchre. Family game night is a regular occurrence at my house. I am lucky to have close friends who I enjoy going on weekend trips with and, of course, I love hanging out with my husband and daughter.
With all of the technology around today, do you believe that reading is still enjoyed as much by children, teens and adults?
There is a lot of technology around, but I don’t feel like it necessarily detracts from the enjoyment of reading. In fact, I really enjoy listening to an audiobook while I clean up around the house or having my recent book on my phone so I can read it anywhere.
I believe that reading is still very much enjoyed by many children, teens, and adults. I see children come through the doors of the library every day, excited to search the shelves for something special to read.
It is heartwarming to help a parent search for a book they read as a child that they now want to share with their own children because it meant so much to them. I think that books offer a way into understanding one’s self and learning about the world outside of your own experiences, which I think can be especially intriguing to teens.
For everyone, reading is so important because it can offer you new worlds and knowledge.
Would you give a few suggestions for parents who want to encourage their children to read more?
Make reading part of your day together. Read a board book to your infant after bath time and before bed, creating that comfortable routine that could last years.
While you are on an errand run, play early literacy games with your preschooler, like repeating nursery rhymes or take turns saying rhyming words together. If your child is under 5 years old, sign up for the Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library and a new book will be mailed to them every month!
With your older children, take 20 minutes to sit down together as a family to read a chapter of a book each night or listen to a chapter from an audiobook while dropping them off to school or practice.
Show them that you enjoy reading by taking time to read something yourself. Bring them to the library and let them pick out something they are interested in. I promise that re-reading something is fine and that reading graphic novels is really reading.
To sign up for Stark’s Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library visit: https://starklibrary.org/home/services/imagination-library/.
Editor’s note: Five questions with… is a Sunday feature that showcases a member of the Stark County community. If you’d like to recommend someone to participate, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.