I have finally earned my official “Librarian credentials” this year, my MSIS (Master of Science in Information Studies) and realized that I haven’t really posted here about my experiences working in public libraries. As I thought about what I would most like to share, I looked through the few images I had saved.
Clockwise: 1) Springtime terrariums, 2) Winter fun “Once Upon a Time” (Oil-pan/Magnet storyboard for interactive play), 3 &4) kids and volunteers having fun in our play area, 5) parting gift from a Stitch Night friend, 6) Yoda hat made at Stitch Night, 7) weeded books to send home with some summer helpers. Center: Linda Wertheimer interviewing members of our Stitch Night community about the upcoming (2012) election.
Working at Fairfield library introduced me to some of the very best people in Richmond. We earned each other’s trust over books and programming, hot cups of tea and shared goodies, hospitality, homework and resumé writing. I was inspired by many patrons and their ability to overcome steep obstacles. We endured some challenging times together – many were single mothers, just like I was. The determination and perseverance I witnessed inspired me to leave behind self doubt, and get to a place where I could make a bigger difference in the world.
When it came time for me to leave because I had decided to go back to school and earn my credentials, many members of the community came to wish me well. Those families continue to be an inspiration to me to advocate for the under served and provide opportunities beyond the library.
Fairfield Library has a new building, completed in 2019. Though I know it is beautiful and a dream come true for the community, I will always love and miss the old Fairfield, and the community that fostered in me the desire to do more with my life.
According to a Kiersey analysis, I am an Idealist/Champion ENFP, meaning that I am curious, creative, authentic, loyal, dependable, service oriented, articulate and flexible. My life in archives the past two years taught me a lot about myself. The work was endlessly fascinating, but incredibly isolating, and it became clearer to me that I need to be part of a team of people who share the same interests of public service, where my love of people and resourcefulness are fully appreciated as assets. Helping people solve problems, tackle challenges, and find resources to better their lives would make me feel excited to go to work every day. It’s what I’ve spent my whole adult life preparing for! Incorporating elements of playfulness and fun, both with the public and with fellow employees, makes the everyday mundanity feel less heavy, and I find that people appreciate having an extra set of hands pitching in.
I have been thinking about ways to reach people who have never used the library, for one reason or another. One partnership that could make inroads is with hospitals and birthing centers. I’d like to put together a gift bag for new parents with a bilingual pamphlet describing library services, a board book to keep with an informative sticker on the back, and an invitation to join.
Another program to consider is for libraries to join Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library program, which mails a book to children every year, at a very low cost. Getting books into children’s hands should be a priority!