Between the Lines: March Member Spotlight
Library Director, Mitchell County Public Library
Colorado City, Texas
What inspired you to become a librarian?
I have always had a desire to help people. I knew I wanted to be a teacher in the second grade. After a few years in college, I decided being a teacher wasn’t my career path, and I ended up pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in Library and Information Science and eventually earned my Master of Library Science degree from Texas Woman’s University.
Reading has been a big part of my life. My parents took my sister and me to the library as children and encouraged us to read.
I had a wonderful school librarian in second grade named Mrs. Tully. She made it fun to go to the library and I still remember her, 26 years later. She made me realize that the library is not this stuffy place where you have to be quiet all the time. She made the library fun with her story times and little plays we got to do.
What is an innovative practice at your library that you’d like to share with others?
I was part of the first Library Technology Academy held through the Texas State Library and Archives Commission (TSLAC). I purchased a printer for wireless printing which my patrons use on a daily basis and a large TV for library and community events. Other than that, we don’t have a lot of fancy bells and whistles. Being a small library, it can be hard to have the fancy things. We work with the space and resources we have and provide the best services we can for our small community.
If you could have dinner with three authors (living or dead), who would they be and why?
Rick Riordan: I enjoy his work. I heard him speak at the Southern Festival of Books in Nashville, TN several years ago and he seems to be an interesting and fun person to chat with.
Natasha Tretheway: I enjoy her work. Her poetry is deep and powerful to me. Plus we both hail from Mississippi. I would enjoy talking to her about her experiences growing up and about life in general.
Eudora Welty: I have been fascinated by her work since reading it in college. I would love to get an insight into her stories and the people she knew.
What are you reading right now?
I always have about five or six books going at one time. I started Stone Motel: Memoirs of A Cajun Boy by Morris Ardoin recently.
What is your most memorable Texas Library Association Experience?
There are so many! For me, it’s getting to know and networking with colleagues at conference and going to District 1 meetings. The most memorable moments are being the District 1 Chair and doing our Fall meeting virtually this year and being the first TALL Texans class to do the program virtually.
Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, how have you had to adjust the way you provide library services? How is your library operating now?
We initially closed for seven weeks starting in March, reopening on May 1st. The library staff and I cleaned every possible surface. We did curbside service for books and DVDs during this time and are still doing it for patrons who want it. We did virtual story time during the closure and up until the start of Summer Library Program.
The Mitchell County Public Library is around 7,000 square feet. We have made some adjustments to our library services. We are allowing only 5 of our public computers to be used at a time for social distancing. We continue to clean our books and DVD cases as we have done for years and continue to provide 24/7 access to free WIFI. Patrons have been good about social distancing in the library. Other than these things, we are pretty much in our regular operational mode.
Also, we managed to pull off an in-person Summer Library Program. The children and parents were so good about social distancing. Our annual Santa visit was a success despite the children having to sit on a chair next to Santa rather than on his lap.
“I am a TLA member because…” I am able to connect with so many colleagues in the library profession and learn from them.