I looked up to Stephanie as a librarian and person to emulate. When she asked me to be part of TBF, it was something I attended myself so I felt honored that she wanted me, a "little person" compared to the rest of the committee, to be part of the TBF family and help with an amazing event. She taught me how to compose a professional email to a publisher asking about books to sell for Greater Rochester Teen Read Week. I feel more confidant about what I do because of her teachings. The night before working my first TBF, she told me at the end of the Friday dinner to "get home and get to bed" because I had a long day ahead of me. I laughed because I knew she was going to be up and at it the next morning way before me!
At TBF 2018, Beth gave us buttons with Stephanie’s smiling face. I keep my button on my bulletin board, at my eyeline, and I feel Stephanie and her wild and wonderful light with me. I felt her at TBF this past year too, saw her in the faces of the folks who came to the festival. Stephanie lives on in her kids, the thousands she touched and inspired over the years at TBF and at the library. She lives on in her wonderful friends who keep on keeping on with their beautiful work in the libraries and class rooms, and in Fred, who was so gracious and brave this past year at the festival, showing up with his golden light to keep Stephanie’s spirit with us. I miss her so much, but if I surrender to my memories of her, I hear her laughter. Those crazy gifts she used to pick out for us—each one was so thoughtful, and a bit of a gag. This past year, Stephanie was gone for two months by the time I opened up my gift bag. Beth said one of the last things Stephanie had done was to be sure she’d gotten all of us gifts. She knew I love dogs and got me a mug that said: DOG HAIR: NOT JUST AN ACCESSORY, BUT ALSO A CONDIMENT. Stephanie, I love you.
Stephanie will forever be the librarian godmother of young adult literature. Her raucous example of love for teen readers inspires me every day.