Between the Lines: May Member Spotlight
John D. Hayden
Library Director, Bonham Public Library
What inspired you to become a librarian?
My grandmother inspired me to become a librarian. She was a public and church librarian and was the one who would take me to storytime. I always remember the bookshelf she had at her house and every time I would visit she would spend time reading to me. I honestly never thought I would be following in her footsteps. I started this journey as an academic librarian at York College, became an adult reference librarian years later and then a children’s librarian before becoming a Library Director. My grandmother inspired me to follow my dreams and to become someone who makes a difference in others’ lives. So, here I am trying to be that inspiration for others.
What is an innovative practice at your library that you’d like to share with others?
We have done a lot of things since I have been here that I can say are innovative in one way or another. We have discovery kits filled with fiction and non-fiction books and educational toys like robots, dinosaurs, magic, family card games, magnets, gardening kit, sewing and more. These kits are great for kids to learn and discover the world. We have had several parents request different discovery kits like telling time, counting money and music. We went out and put those kits together. We also have Merge VR (virtual reality) headsets and Merge cubes that we circulate and last year we put in a charging station for mobile devices because we saw the need for it. We are always looking for innovative ways to enrich and empower our community.
If you could have dinner with three authors (living or dead), who would they be and why?
This was a hard question because there are so many I would like to have dinner with. The first one would be Chris Barton (Shark vs. Train). I met Chris at my first conference and my kids enjoy his books. I plan on writing a children’s book and would just like to spend time picking his brain for inspiration. The second author would be James Whitcomb Riley (known as “the poet of the common people,” 1849-1916). My grandmother had his books on her bookshelf and I spent hours reading his poetry. Plus, he is somehow related to me. I enjoy poetry and would love to share with him the poetry I have written. The third author would have to be John Grisham. It would be great just to sit down with him over a nice dinner and just visit with him about how he gets his stories. The list could go on and on.
What are you reading right now?
I just finished reading The Coffee Bean by Jon Gordon and Damon West. It teaches readers how to transform their environment, overcome changes and create positive change. The books I’m reading now are Strengths Finder 2.0 by Tom Rath and Highfire by Eoin Colfer.
What is your most memorable Texas Library Association Experience?
Being the Small Communities Round Table Chair this past year has been a great experience for me. I have enjoyed building relationships with other small librarians and advocating for them. Planning the programs and the social for this year’s conference has been great. I challenge and encourage others to be a part of TLA in some leadership capacity. My other most memorable experience was going to my first TLA conference in San Antonio.