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Meet Jessica Pratt, Northeast Chapter Membership Representative

Posted By Susan Wertz, Wednesday, August 12, 2020
Updated: Tuesday, August 11, 2020

Jessica Pratt 

Northeast Chapter Membership Representative, 2020 PaLA Conference Committee

What activities and hobbies are you enjoying during this time?

I’ve been renovating my bathroom since April. It has turned out to be much more of a challenge than I had anticipated.  As anyone who has ever had to renovate an older home already knows, repairing one thing reveals something else that needs fixing. It’s been quite the learning experience and I can’t wait for it to finally be done!


What is your preferred caffeinated beverage, and how much of it do you drink each day?

Hot tea.  I typically consume 1-2 cups a day at work. Before social distancing, I even started a book club at the library, Novel-Tea, just so that I can get together with patrons to discuss books and drink tea.


Tell us about your journey working in libraries:

I never really considered myself much of a reader growing up although my friends joked that I was a “quiet librarian.” Even in college when I took an internship at an academic library as part of my Museum Studies minor, I still didn’t see myself ever working in libraries. After college, however, I wasn’t sure what I was supposed to do next so I started applying for jobs in my home town. One place that called me for an interview was my local library. It was a part-time position and I really only saw it as temporary but the library director recognized me from my visits when I was younger (I guess I was more of a reader than I gave myself credit for) and I got the job. Fast forward a few years and I finally admitted to myself that I really like working in libraries. I went for my MLIS and am now an official librarian (although not necessarily a quiet one.)


How did you first get involved in PaLA? Did you receive encouragement from anyone in particular?

In 2012, I put together an altered book exhibit and my director encouraged me to submit the idea as a poster for the annual conference. Even though I did not attend any sessions that year, it introduced me to the great networking opportunities that the conference can provide. I became a member of PaLA a year later and have been fortunate to have the opportunity to attend almost every conference since then in some capacity. I love meeting new people and old friends at the conferences as well as bringing innovative ideas back to my library. In 2016 I had the opportunity to first serve on the committee for the PaLA Annual Conference and then again this year. This is also my first year serving as a PaLA Chapter member and on the Membership Committee.


How has your PaLA membership helped you?

Along with the learning experiences provided by the conferences, the PALS program, and chapter workshops, my membership has greatly expanded my network both professionally and socially. I’m friends with librarians on Facebook that I would never had met if not for attending a PaLA event. Just recently my chapter put together virtual socials for us to just get together and talk about how we’re doing.  (It turns out many of us used to go to the same hair salon!)

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