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Between the Lines: January Member Spotlight

Between the Lines: Member Spotlight, TLA News

Mary Seaman, Director
Bertam Public Library


What inspired you to become a librarian? I became a librarian mainly because I love books, but I became a director because of the community. I realized that I loved being able to share a passion of mine with others. There is something so great about a patron coming back saying they loved the book you recommended. I also wanted to create a work environment for other librarians that is open to creativity and innovation. 

What is an innovative practice at your library that you’d like to share with others? An innovative practice Bertram Library is doing is providing Wi-Fi hotspots to our community. Bertram is a very small town with many areas that have poor internet connection. We saw many libraries providing hotspots and felt our community would greatly benefit from this due to the need for internet connection during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

If you could have dinner with three authors (living or dead), who would they be and why?  Sarah J. Maas, because I am a huge fan of ALL of her books. Jane Austen, because I would love to hear her perspective of writing in a time that was difficult for women. Lastly, Dr. Seuss since I think he would be good company with his elaborate imagination. 

What are you reading right now? I just finished the Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by Victoria Schwab. I plan to read Star Daughter by Shveta Thakrar next. 

What is your most memorable Texas Library Association Experience? My most memorable Texas Library Association experience is the time I worked with its amazing staff. I am lucky to have connections with both the staff and fellow librarians all across Texas.

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, how have you had to adjust the way you provide library services? How is your library operating? Serving patrons looks very different now. We of course offer curbside and help over the phone as much as possible. We have encouraged patrons to use more of our e-services and provide tutorials online for getting started or for those who need help. We have offered children Grab-and-Go kits and virtual storytime in lieu of in-person gatherings. We are also working on providing adult Grab-and- Go kits that will contain supplies to create something or learn a new skill. We have had to think of creative ways to continue programming and comply with COVID-19 restrictions, as most libraries have.

Please finish this sentence. “I am a TLA member because…”  I am a TLA member because I am able to connect with other librarians around Texas while also gaining insight into new, innovative ways to serve our community.