Faculty Profile: Librarian Elyse Seltzer


Head Librarian Elyse Seltzer. Photo courtesy of Brimmer and May School.

Zakkai Mares-Van Praag, Journalist

The Gator recently had the chance to meet with Elyse Seltzer, who recently joined the School as the Middle and Upper School Library Program Director and Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion Liaison.

What made you choose the School?

Originally, I wasn’t looking to change jobs. But when Mrs. Dolan sent out an email to a list that I was on and described Brimmer and the position, I thought that it was a great fit for me, and so, as I learned more about Brimmer, I really liked how it was embracing work of equity and inclusion. I’ve always heard that Brimmer had this innate welcoming feeling to it as people came on campus or visited.

What inspired you to become a librarian?

I’ve kind of always just kind of been a librarian. When I was a kid, both of my parents worked and I stayed late at school, and I would stay at the library until it closed. And then, of course, I offered to help clean up. So I helped in the library all through my middle school years, and when I was in high school I helped at the BPL Library and that was amazing. And when it was time to graduate college, I was a music major. I asked my mom what I should do, and she said “you’re a librarian! Why don’t you do that?” So I did! I went to Simmons and went to library school and I’ve been a librarian ever since I graduated!

What are some of your hobbies?

I’m also a musician, and it’s funny because at first, I thought I’ll be a school librarian, so then I can have the summers off and the weekends off and know I can keep doing my performance, but being a librarian has become so much more than that. Right now I’m doing The Bodyguard at Riverside Theatre Works, and I’m in an acapella group called Mass Appeal, and I participate in choruses, so I kind of do a lot of singing whenever I have time for it.

What’s something about you people wouldn’t expect?

I guess something about me that people can’t tell by looking at me is that I’m Jewish, so just with the recent racial pandemic and the rise in Anti-Semitism that’s been happening, I’m feeling it double. I feel like sometimes in both groups people will say things that negate the other of my identities.

What is your favorite book? Do you have recommendations for the community?

I love fantasy and Sci-Fi, and I’ve enjoyed Children of Blood and Bone, and that’s like a big fantasy novel. It’s kind of like Afro-Futurism, which is a genre that I also really like. It’s Latinx Heritage Month, so I’m finishing up this book called Orquídea Divina, it has magical realism and all of that. I don’t know what I’d recommend, because there are books that I love, but I love hearing what other people love, and then giving individual recommendations. It doesn’t seem to make sense to say, “everyone read this!” Sure, there are great books that I feel like everyone should read, but I’d say like come find me and I’ll recommend something to you individually!

Is there anything else you want people to know about you or the library?

The library is open, come get books! If you’re not finding something that you want, let me know, and I’m happy to order it. I think because we weren’t in person last year, there weren’t a lot of books ordered, and so I definitely have to catch up on some of our newer books. Check out Sora, because it fills a lot of gaps. And yeah, if you need any help with research I’m here for you, and if you need ideas for a good book to read I’m here for you!

Editor’s Note: Responses have been edited for clarity and length.