Member of the Month

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Member of the Month

Jen Bigheart
Outreach Supervisor, Westbank Community Libraries, Austin

Professional experience
I'm a late librarian (those Psych degrees didn't stick), and I started putting my MLS to use working for a state-wide literacy coalition in 2011. After a year I landed my first official library gig at Westbank as a part-time reference librarian. Now, two years later, I'm the Outreach Supervisor. I wear a few volunteer hats as well and feel like the wizard behind the curtain sometimes. I am the PR Director for the Texas Teen Book Festival (formerly Austin Teen Book Festival) and the Social Media Manager for YART.

Innovative library practices
At Westbank we have the amazing support of our community, and when we discovered that our property at the Laura's Library branch had a multitude of rare Texas Madrone trees, we reached out to that community for its help identifying the trees and educating others about them. With the service and dedication of many volunteers, Scouts, and staff, we now have a dedicated nature trail where over 50 Madrones have been identified and where monthly guided hikes are held.

Favorite literary character or book
I think most librarians don't have an absolute favorite; there are just too many choices. Right now, I'm in love with 100 Sideways Miles by Andrew Smith and Glory O'Brien's History of the Future. I'm excited they're coming to Texas Teen Book Festival, a festival near and dear to me.

Most memorable TLA experience
It's a tie, actually. My first and second TLAs were brag-worthy. The first was in San Antonio in 2010. You remember that year, the year of Suzanne Collins. The world was just catching on to what librarians knew for a while; The Hunger Games was the "it" book. The day Collins was to sign in the author area was complete madness. I was on the second floor waiting for the door attendant to let us in and I could see the crowd, the absolute swarm of people crowding in at the main exhibit entrance on the first floor. Next thing I knew, the doors opened and I raced down the escalator to find myself #3 in line. I got to watch Collins comb her hair. #dies The second TLA I was fortunate to serve on the Local Arrangements Committee in Austin in 2011. I was still in library school and felt like I was sitting at the grown-up table as a little kid. I dove right in, learned a lot, met so many people I am still in contact with today, and am thrilled to be on LAC again for 2015.

Created on Nov 1, 2011 | Last updated November 01, 2014