Introducing: YOUR Citizen Reader.
Like nonfiction? Like telling others about nonfiction?

Who exactly is Citizen Reader anyway?

For the last couple of days I've had a post up detailing my new nonfiction and readers' advisory training service, YOUR Citizen Reader; so now it seems only fair to polish up the old CV and post that too. My apologies in advance for all mercenary postings this week; try to think of it like "pledge week" here at CR. (Unlike public broadcasting, I don't get tons of money from the federal government --tee hee--and have to find my own methods of producing those wily little things called "income streams.") Thanks for your patience--and regularly scheduled nonfiction reviewing will resume next week.

When not blogging as Citizen Reader, I'm a mild-mannered freelance librarian and back-of-the-book indexer named Sarah Statz Cords.

Freelance Librarianship and Publishing

Most recently, I've authored several readers' guides, published by Libraries Unlimited:
The Inside Scoop: A Guide to Nonfiction Investigative Writing and Exposes (2009)
Now Read This III: A Guide to Mainstream Fiction (with Nancy Pearl, 2010)
The Real Story: A Guide to Nonfiction Reading Interests (2006)

My first book, Public Speaking Handbook for Librarians and Information Professionals, was published in 2003 by McFarland.

I am also the editor of the Libraries Unlimited Real Stories series of readers' guides, which are reference books that help readers find nonfiction reading they might enjoy. I formerly worked as an associate editor for the Reader's Advisor Online database and blog, published by the same company (Libraries Unlimited/ABC-CLIO).

I have taught a course on the Reading Interests of Adults at the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Library and Information Science (twice). I also review business books for Library Journal and have reviewed nonfiction titles for Bookslut.

Public Library Experience

Most recently, and for more than seven years, I worked as a public library assistant for the Madison Public Library (WI). I worked as both a circulation clerk and a reference librarian: shelving books and helping maintain the collection; helping patrons with their readers' advisory and reference questions; writing book reviews for the library blog; and helping with an email-based reader's advisory service. I was also in charge of tax forms, but I prefer not to relive those memories.

Bookstore Interlude

Before that I worked as a clerk at McDermott Books, a used bookstore in Madison (WI), which was heavenly. (McDermott's is no more, sadly.) I assisted readers and helped fulfill internet orders, and it was there that I learned the importance of deciphering what readers really want: when young men asked, quietly and with furtive glances, "for gardening books," what they really wanted were books on how to grow cannabis.

Academic Library Experience

My first jobs out of library school were in academic libraries. In College Library, the undergraduate library of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, I worked in the circulation department and spent time at the reference desk, while also hiring and supervising student workers who were sweet but felt differently than I did about the importance of either showing up for their shift or calling to let me know they wouldn't be showing up at all.

In Wendt Library, I served tomorrow's engineers and scientists as a reference librarian, becoming more familiar than I ever thought I would or could get with ANSI standards and chemical engineering databases. I have an abiding love for engineers (engineering students were uniformly polite, and total sweethearts) that dates from this period.


I have a B.A. in Journalism and an M.A. in Library Science, both from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.


I often avoided childhood chores in order to hide in various spots in the house and outside to read books. I read primarily fantasy, but also whatever I could get my hands on, from a friend's Sweet Valley High series to my parents' bookshelves of politically conservative nonfiction titles. I became an eclectic reader out of necessity.