Linda Raub Esposito
Youth Services Librarian,
Peters Township Public Library
Tell us about your journey to working in libraries.
As a child I used to frequent my school library. Up until 5th grade I went to a very small 2 room school. It was like “Little House on the Prairie”. There were 2 grades per class room. The library was a room on that floor that sat in between the 2 classrooms and then of course there were bathrooms and a water fountain. That was it. Funny I have since gone back to see the old school house. It is now a community center and the library remains. Although I recall it being a lot larger when I was a child. And when did they lower the water fountain?? LOL Funny how we perceive things when we are young and “small”.
Well of course those were the days of the card catalog. When the librarian would make new cards and toss out old ones and I would take them. I would go home and play school with my sisters. Of course I was the teacher/librarian. My sisters ought to be thankful that I wasn’t their principal. LOL
Well…I look back on those days and see the irony that I in fact became a librarian. I went off to Penn State and earned my BS in Business. After graduation I moved to Minneapolis and spent 17 ½ years in business. My husband, at that time, and I owned and managed 2 restaurants, 2 deli’s, 2 takeout & delivery locations, and a commissary. Yes I indeed used my business degree.
As my life began to take a different course I moved back to Pittsburgh to raise my children closer to family. I had always worked and had flexibility to raise my children and wanted somehow to continue to do so. I came up with a music program that I thought would work for children. I approached Mrs. Pier Lee (famous around PaLA) of my local library and asked if I could run the program through her library. She invited me to do a class with children while she and the Children’s Librarian observed. As you could probably guess…I got the job. In 1998 I became an independent contractor of sorts. I worked out a library program that families had to pay for so that I could get paid. My classes were full with waiting lists!!
Shortly after my “joining” the Peters Township Public Library our children’s program assistant had left for another job. I was offered the position. I jumped on it and now it is 2020 and I am still here. I moved up the ladder by doing every aspect of a librarian’s job. I loved it so much, I went on to earn my MLIS. Every day I count my blessings for having this career find me! I wouldn’t change it for the world.
How have libraries impacted your life?
I remember my first book ever…”Are You’re my Mother” by P.D. Eastman. Even today this is my favorite children’s book. I love giving it as gifts. My first chapter book was “Nancy Drew and the Secret of the Old Clock” by Carolyn Keene. I really enjoyed that even more because now…I was really reading.
Libraries expand our world. I may never get to Greece physically, but I feel I have been there. The library took me there. Wouldn’t it be fun to meet a famous person like Queen Elizabeth? That will probably never happen but in my library I learned about her, Alexander Hamilton, Bill Gates, Roald Dahl etc. I never want to stop learning and the library affords me so many learning opportunities. How can we not want to shout it from the rooftops? There is this great resource that just cries out to be used and it is ours for the taking. Sometimes I wonder if it is one of those well kept secrets that needs NOT to be a secret.
How did you first get involved in PaLA? Did you receive encouragement from anyone in particular?
I first got involved with PaLA by going to the conferences. I had a supportive director that made it possible for some of us to attend. Wow…there is so much going on at a conference. You feel the excitement and enthusiasm from other librarians, authors, vendors…you just want to ride the wave.
The person that really pumped me up to get more involved was actually pretty recent. Ed Wolf our Techie guy (great guy) was involved and I would see him and his interactions with other PaLA members. (I don’t think there is a person at PaLA that Ed doesn’t know, or doesn’t know Ed LOL) He would introduce me to people and I found the more people I met the more I learned and the more I wanted to be a part of the inner workings of PaLA.
I am a member of PaLA, ALA, Southwest Chapter Membership Chair, Equity, Diversity, Inclusion (EDI) Committee and Candidate for 2020-2021 Vice Chair/Chair Elect for the Southwest Chapter.
What advice would you give to new members, or someone considering membership?
Get involved so that you feel a part of PaLA. This is a sure fire way to meet people, make connections, share professional news and best of all make new friends! Be active and be proud!