Editor’s Note: This is the fifth in a series of Q&As with Framingham Public Library staff. The main Framingham Library and the Christa McAuliffe Library branch were physically closed for more than a year due to the coronavirus pandemic. During that time period, a new director and assistant director were hired. During those months, new staff was hired, some left, and with the library back to its pre-pandemic hours, SOURCE thought it would be great during the prime summer reading season to introduce and re-introduce key library staff to the community, and have staff discuss what the library has to offer and their favorite parts of the libraries.
Position: Head of Branch Experience
When started in current position: December 6th, 2021
How long with Framingham Library: 9 years this month.
I am responsible for: I’m responsible for the Christa McAuliffe branch library on Water Street
Favorite Children’s book: The House with a Clock in its Walls. As a child, nothing scared me more than Isaac Izard and his creepy wife rising from the dead. I was a latch key kid who couldn’t enter my house after reading John Bellairs, Goosebumps, Bunnicula. Which was how I found the library. Even though New Zebedee was written to be in Michigan, I’m almost positive it’s actually Hopkinton. (Where I lived as a young child when I read the book.)
Favorite Book: The Secret Garden. This book is perfect. The other day, someone mentioned to me that this is actually a children’s book, and I suppose that it is, though I scoffed at the time. The first time that I read it I was a child. But the topics woven through the story are so relevant to all of us. Loss, grief, loneliness, the power of nature to heal us, perseverance, community, wonder. Every time I read this “children’s” book, I find something new.
Favorite author: My seven year old, Maggie, who wrote and self published a limited run of her first memoir last night. Part of a private collection, available upon request. Covers topics such as eating, sleeping, coloring.
Favorite section of the Framingham Library to browse: I love the New section, both fiction and non-fiction. Browsing the new shelves is like somebody giving you carte blanche to pick whatever your heart desires. My heart generally does not allow me to walk by without picking at least one thing. Luckily there is a very high limit to how many items one can check out at a time.
When I’m in the library, I just can’t help myself and to go look out the windows at the point for the view. McAuliffe cascades into nature. Even the reflections of the globe lights give the illusion of going on forever. We have the most beautiful windows here, and our backyard changes a little every day.
The best part of my job is the way the day flexes and curves in different ways every day. I like to see what our community responds to. The books, the questions, the requests are all bits of a larger conversation that represents who we are, together, at this moment in time. Being in the library, the hub of information, means that all day long we are learning in some way or another.
I wish people knew the library offered access to real information professionals. Neil Gaimen said, “Google can bring you back 100,000 answers. A librarian can bring you back the right one.” Come sit at the reference desk and invite us down your rabbit holes.
The Framingham Library needs you! (Cue image of Uncle Sam in a librarian’s cardigan) No two public libraries are alike because the public library serves its own unique cross section of the community. In order to do that to the best of our ability, we need to hear what you like, what you want, what you need. Bring us your lists and suggestions and feedback.
Last thing I took out with my library card was The graphic novel retelling of The Secret Garden called “The Secret Garden on 81st Street.” It takes place in current time, in New York City. Mary is biracial, Mary’s uncle is queer, and Colin suffers from anxiety. I read it in two sittings. Would have been one, but it was a late night, and sleep has to happen sometimes.
I would recommend downloading our apps if you haven’t already. Using the MLN app allows you to put your library card on your phone, and that’s handy. But using Libby and Hoopla lets you satisfy any rogue needs for instant gratification, ensures you always have a book to read when you’re bored in line at Dunkin Donuts, and gives you hours of audio for your dog’s walks.