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Five Questions for Marcy Stoeven, Hillsborough Library Assistant
Marcy Stoeven, Hillsborough Library Assistant

Marcy is a passionate, accomplished freelance photographer, with over sixty photos published in national and local publications. In her past lives, she has been a film editor and photographic printer, in addition to holding administrative positions in business.

Marcy holds a BA in theater and English from Columbia University. Born and raised in California, she attended the Branson School in Marin County. She was a librarian at the Gooden School in Pasadena, which her young children attended. Seeking to return to the Bay Area after a long absence, Marcy discovered Nueva!

Marcy is a train aficionado, and has published three books — Freight Railroading A to Ztrain graf·fi·ti, and Fantastic Freight Trains — making her an accomplished author as well!

Marcy is currently a part of the Nueva community of readers and the Nueva Library Team in Hillsborough.

1. Drawing on your current and past roles working in school libraries, can you share a perspective on young readers that other members of the community might not get to see?

Besides all the wonderful benefits of reading, the library allows young readers the opportunity to learn how to successfully conduct their own business. Among other things, young people learn to use the Dewey decimal system, become good borrowers, ask for help, and state their case in the event of misplaced books. The kids learn to care for things that belong to others, and they feel trustworthy because they can check out a book in their own names. It’s a nice, low-stress way for children to practice responsibility.

2. Many of your photographs have been published over the years.  How has your work as a photographer changed the way you see the world?

I have been shooting photographs consistently since I was in fifth grade. I have always had a love of using a camera to show things other people may overlook. I am always looking for a different perspective. My first career was as an editor in Hollywood, and I have been very influenced by movies as well. Photography and film have always been my passion and have influenced all aspects of my life.

3. Many people in our community may not be aware that you are really into trains ­— you have even published several books about freight trains! What is it about trains that so captivates your interest and imagination?

Yes, I am a foamer! A “foamer” is an old, regional term that refers to train enthusiasts who would get into the water of the Feather River Canyon to photograph trains. This was during the time when there were lumber industries on the river that produced foam on the water. I love trains and train operations — the size of the locomotives, their colors against the mountains, the conductors and engineers, the yard — the whole thing. Besides riding the amazing passenger trains in Europe, I have taken many clandestine trips on freight trains here in California.

4. During the time you lived outside the Bay Area, what is something you missed? Now that you have returned, what has been the biggest surprise?

I missed the sophistication of the Bay Area, along with the foliage and the fog. The traffic and the price of housing has really surprised me. But I still love the opera, the symphony, and all the other wonderful things available here.

5. What is a book that had a great impact on your life?

During my freshly discovered passion for reading and photography when I was about ten years old, my mom gave me a book on the Civil War photographer Mathew Brady. Besides all my favorite nonfiction books, my favorite fiction books are the new translation of the Kristin Lavransdatter Trilogy, the new translation of Remembrances of Things Past, and Angle of Repose.

November 29, 2017


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Saya Jenks, Extended Programs Teacher and Prekindergarten Aide

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