It’s been two weeks and the library staff have had a chance to get know him, so now we’ve asked the new Youth Services Manager to introduce himself to you. Here’s what he had to say:

“Hello Chillicothe and Ross County!  My name is Luke Bentley, and I am the new Youth Services Manager for your fine library system.  I’m absolutely excited to hit the ground running for the kids of Ross County.

I am a native of northern Athens County, where I graduated from Trimble High School as one of a class of 48; to say it was a small-town upbringing feels like an understatement!  Hills and forests are the places I’m most comfortable in, because that’s where I was born and raised.

I attended Ohio University, where I received a B.S.E. in Social Studies Education and a B.A. in History, and will finish my M.L.I.S. program online through Kent State in May of this year. After substitute teaching for two years, I found where I was supposed to be: public libraries.  I spent five years with the Athens County Public Libraries as a Youth Services Librarian, where I spent my time planning programs for kids from 0-18, though I eventually settled more into a teen focus. I worked throughout the county in libraries ranging from tiny to big, so I know what it’s like in communities of all shapes and sizes.

I live in Athens, where my hobbies are collecting far too many board games and occasionally playing them, watching good movies and enjoying them, watching bad movies and making fun of them, and enjoying professional wrestling by yelling at them.  I have two nieces and I do my best to visit them (and their parents) whenever I can.  Oh, and books are really good too.”

Of course, that bio raises some questions, so we asked some follow-ups:

What is one of your favorite books?

One of my absolute favorite books ever is Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock by Matthew Quick. It is a heavy book written for teens that is on a pretty dark topic: a potential school shooting.  Normally I am not one for incredibly tense books with dark themes, but I simply could not put this book down. You get completely wrapped up in the characters that are created, and you simultaneously feel terribly sorry for Leonard, the main character, while also very clearly being able to perceive his flaws. This is definitely not a book for everyone, but it is a very good one overall.

Tell us a favorite t.v. show or movie.

My absolute, 100%, favorite movie of all time that I could watch every day is Clue, starring Tim Curry, Madeline Kahn, Michael McKean, and a murderer’s row (pun intended) of fantastic comedic talent. Based on the board game, the movie follows the absurd story of Professor Plum and the gang solving the murder of Mr. Boddy. This movie is both a hilarious comedy and a very effective whodunit that actually has three different endings, which fits pretty nicely for Clue.

Who’s your favorite big-time wrestler?

My favorite wrestler of all time and a personal role-model of mine is Mick Foley.  In the ring he portrayed some of the gnarliest, meanest, most violent characters in major professional wrestling at the time, but in reality he is a soft-spoken intellectual and author of several New York Times best-selling books, most of which are personal memoirs. He has donated much of his time and money to charity, and always pursues the next big goal for himself, since he is so banged up from wrestling that he can never wrestle again. His kindness has inspired me ever since I was a child.

Welcome to the team, Luke! If you see him in the stacks, be sure to extend a mandible claw!