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Get to know our book expert, Ciera Pasturel

Expertly reviewed by Ciera Pasturel

Ciera Pasturel is a lifelong reader who was able to turn her hobby into an occupation. While working toward her master's degree in Library and Information Science from San Jose State University, Pasturel gained valuable experience by interning at the public library. Now, she is a full-time librarian responsible for selecting new print and e-materials for the library. 

When Pasturel isn't working or reading, she enjoys spending time with family and friends, walking along the beach and going for hikes. As an avid reader active in the book community and a librarian, Pasturel's expertise makes her an excellent resource as BestReviews book expert.

Q. You're BestReviews book expert. How did you become an expert?

CP: I originally worked for BestReviews as a photographer several years ago before leaving to go to graduate school to pursue my master's degree of Library and Information Science. Knowing I am now a librarian, BestReviews reached out to me and was curious to know if I would like to join their team of experts. Many of the people I interacted with several years ago still work for BestReviews, and it is great to collaborate with some of my previous coworkers again.

Q. What are the biggest misconceptions about libraries and librarians? 

CP: One of the biggest misconceptions about libraries is that they are just places for books. Libraries also offer a variety of programming to help community members with all kinds of information needs, like assistance with taxes, sewing and crafting classes and passport renewals. Libraries also offer exercise programs, after-school homework help, computer and technology tutors and 3-D printing

Q. How has your experience shaped your expertise and approach to making purchasing decisions?

CP: My role as a librarian for my library’s system is working as a selector. I collaborate with a small team of librarians to select new print and e-materials for the library. Every day, I am responsible for making purchasing decisions for my library by assessing the needs of my library’s community and selecting materials that appropriately reflect the information needs of the community.

Q. How does your philosophy as an expert align with BestReviews’ mission to simplify purchasing decisions?

CP: There are an immense number of books available to read, and oftentimes, searching for the perfect book can be tricky. My philosophy as a BestReviews expert is to provide book selections that resonate with most readers. I also am in favor of offering a variety of options for readers who may not know what they enjoy reading and are looking to explore different genres.

Q. With so many options on the market, it can be difficult for consumers to find books they love. What's your advice for people shopping in this current e-commerce climate?

CP: There are so many options, and I, too am often overwhelmed in deciding what to read next. I suggest asking a few friends what books they have enjoyed recently, or visiting your local library and asking a librarian what they suggest reading. Checking out books from your local library is also a great way to get a feel for what you enjoy reading without having to shell out a ton of money only to find yourself disappointed by the books you purchased. Most libraries also offer an eBook app like Libby or Hoopla that allows you to check out e-materials from the comfort of your couch.

Q. What are your top three favorite genres and books?

CP: My three favorite genres are dark academia, contemporary fiction and fantasy. Some of my favorite books that I have read in the past few years are "The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue," by V.E. Schwab, "The House in the Cerulean Sea," by TJ Klune and "Ninth House," by Leigh Bardugo.

Q. A lot of people are new to reading and aren’t sure where to start. What suggestions do you have for them?

CP: I suggest looking at a few different websites that I often use to look for book suggestions. These include Goodreads, The Story Graph and When a library user asks me for a book recommendation, my favorite book to point them toward is "The House in the Cerulean Sea," by TJ Klune. It is a light read with a hint of fantasy and excellent for those that love characters with personality. Other titles that I enjoy recommending include "Dark Matter," by Blake Crouch, "The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo," by Taylor Jenkins Reid and "The Vanishing Half," by Brit Bennett.

Q. Kindle vs physical books: Which format do you prefer?

CP: I love both formats. While I typically read more physical books, my Kindle is perfect for trips or when I want to bring a book along with me, but don’t want to haul around the weight of a physical book. I have also noticed that I read faster when using a Kindle. That said, I love the feel of physical pages and the act of turning the page with physical books.

Q: What are your goals? What are you most looking forward to in the future?

CP: As a librarian, I always strive to make an impact in the community that I serve. I also would like to continue developing the collection for my libraries that meet the information needs of library users and ensure that everyone has access and the freedom to read.

Q. What are the best resources libraries offer that the general public may not know about?

CP: Some of the best resources offered by libraries that the general public may not know about include the ample technology accessible at libraries. Many libraries provide 3-D printing opportunities, sewing machines, laser cutters and laptops for checkout. Libraries also provide early literacy learning programs, including activities where young readers can read to therapy dogs. Community members can also access a plethora of library resources online and at home. These resources may include free access to local and national newspapers, movies, television shows, eBooks, audiobooks and free online tutoring. 

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Bre Richey writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers.

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