Big Blue Marble Bookstore
a neighborhood bookstore for Mt. Airy and beyond
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Meet Our Staff

Your Friendly Neighborhood Booksellers

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Sheila Allen Avelin, Owner

Sheila opened Big Blue Marble in 2005, the same year she gave birth to her daughter Zivia - while it has turned out okay in the long run, she suggests that others perhaps don't try to do both things at the same time. Many years before opening Big Blue Marble, Sheila worked at Politics and Prose bookstore in Washington, DC and she brushed up on her bookstore skills at Rainbow Bookstore in Madison after she decided to open her own store. She also has a past life as a teacher at Friends Select School and in Penn's freshman English program, where she taught while working on (but not completing) her PhD in English literature. Sheila reads widely and keeps a close eye on the interests of our customers, always considering books to bring into the store that will move, delight, and inform this community of readers.

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Jennifer Woodfin, Manager

Jennifer Woodfin is our general manager and has been at the store since it opened. Her wife is Jennifer Sheffield and they have a six year old named Micah who loves books. Ask her about young adult books - both the SF&F and the realistic YA, also chapter books and nonfiction for kids, science books and science fiction. Ask Micah for advice on picture books, board books, early readers, kids comic books and the superhero section. This is Jennifer's third and longest bookstore job. 

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Elliott batTzedek, Outreach Coordinator

Elliott started at Big Blue Marble in 2011, working Sundays in the summer, and stayed on to become the Outreach/Events Coordinator.  She's always been an avid but erratic reader, so her recommendations cross all genres and ages. She worked for 15 years in early childhood literacy so can ALWAYS lead you to a great kids' book that is just the right match. Elliott is also a poet and translator. She runs our Poetry is Not a Luxury Book Club, and keeps our poetry section stocked with a diverse selection of the best contemporary poets.

Jennifer Sheffield, Bookseller

Jennifer Sheffield has been at Big Blue Marble since 2006. Her love and knowledge of Fantasy and Young Adult literature is both wide and deep, and for many years she ran the store's YA book club and newsletter.  And as Mom to Micah, Jen is up to date on all the best children's books, with a specialty in books that depict a diverse range of families. Jen also also creates great resource lists, which you can find under I'm Looking for Books About...  

Mariga Temple-West, Bookseller

Mariga has been at Big Blue Marble since 2013. A musician and writer herself, she loves fiction that is beautifully written and rich with historic detail. Ask Mariga if you want a read that will pull you utterly into another world, another place, another time. She's also a realtor with Weichert Realtors, so you can also ask her help moving into another home!

Sarah Sawyers-Lovett, Bookseller

Sarah started at Big Blue Marble in 2014. Now she runs the Wednesday morning story time, and pitches in for store projects. A writer, blogger, and pod caster, Sarah's book Retrospect: A Tazewell's Favorite Eccentric Zine Anthology is on our shelf, and we are big fans of her Book Jawn podcast.

Jenna Faccenda, Events Assistant

Jenna is brand new at Big Blue Marble, joining us as Events Assistant in May, 2017.  She's a writer, a mom to CJ, age 3, and a student at Temple University. She is co-owner of Writely Me: a website for writers, and is the Production Manager for Running Wild Press. Jenna loves to read fiction books that transport her into a completely different world. Her favorite authors include Ellen Hopkins, Sarah Dessen, Amy Tan, and basically anything YA.