Interviews
Interviews

Meet Our New Librarian 
Allison Escoto! 

You've worked as a bookseller and in publishing, what drew you to becoming a librarian?

I was lucky enough to get a job in my college's library when I was an undergrad. The majority of my time there was spent shelving books and it was during those years of navigating the stacks and getting to know the collection that I discovered so many influential books and authors that weren't part of my curriculum. I was also always intrigued by how accessible so much information could be. I knew that when I graduated with my degree in English and creative writing, I would either work in publishing or become a librarian. As it happened, I did both! After working as an editorial assistant for a number of years, I decided to get my master's and pursue librarianship.

The Center has a great library with gems from the past, a Raven Award-winning collection of mystery and detective fiction, carefully curated nonfiction, and of course, an amazing selection of fiction. What do you like to read on your off time? 

A little bit of everything! I read a lot of poetry and short stories; I'm always on the lookout for new collections from emerging writers. I love literary fiction and gravitate toward sprawling historical novels. Lately I've also gotten into cozy mysteries. They are refreshing palate cleansers in between the gravitas of all that literary fiction! I am a fan of biographies and literary nonfiction as well. Having enough time to read has always been a problem!

We have a column where we ask authors what book made them a reader—what was your childhood favorite? 
I have a vivid memory of the very first book I ever read on my own: The Monster at the End of this Book by Jon Stone. I was raised on Sesame Street and I still remember how fun reading that book was and how much it made me want to read everything I could. With me, all it took was one good book and I was hooked.


You're associate editor for the Newtown Literary Journal—can you tell us about it? 


There is a unique and vibrant literary community in Queens that reflects the undeniable diversity throughout the borough. Newtown Literary was founded in 2012 for the express purpose of highlighting this community. We publish a literary journal twice a year, dedicated to writers who currently live or have lived in Queens. We also hold events throughout the year including open mikes, readings, a Queens Writes Weekend every spring, writing classes at the Queens Library, and so much more. I have been fortunate enough to call Queens my home for several years now and I was thrilled to join the staff there because anything that promotes my favorite borough in NYC is something I'm proud to join!


It's an exciting time at the Center with our move to Brooklyn into our beautiful new building and expansion of services for the public. What are you looking forward to in your future as our librarian? 


I am so looking forward to being a part of this new phase in the Center's history. Bringing our award winning collection of fiction to a new community and making it accessible is exciting. The mission of this wonderful organization is one I can truly support and I consider it an honor to be a member of this fantastic staff. Brooklyn has a great community of readers and writers, and the Center is going to fit right in!

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New Yorker by way of New Orleans, Allison Escoto received her BA in Creative Writing from SUNY New Paltz and closed out the 90s as a bookseller in Greenwich Village. After several years in publishing, she pursued and received her MLS from Queens College. Since then she has worked as a librarian for 15 years in various libraries in and around NYC and has been moonlighting as a poet and copywriter. She is the Associate Editor for Newtown Literary Journal, a publication dedicated to featuring writers from her beloved Queens. 

 

Find out more about our library here.