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Meet Megan Babal, Northwest Chapter Member

Posted By Susan Wertz, Tuesday, September 8, 2020
Updated: Friday, September 4, 2020

Megan Babal,

Public Service and Outreach Librarian, Grove City College


What was the last five-star book you read?

A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman. It is one of my all-time favorite books and my go-to book recommendation during reader’s advisory. It’s the perfect mix of feel-good, a little sad, and laugh-out-loud funny with such great characters. For audiobook listeners this is a great one to listen to as well. George Newbern as the narrator is great!


Tell us about your journey to working in libraries.

In high school I took a career exploration class and for our final project we had to interview professionals in different fields to get a feel for what we might be interested in. I struggled with picking a field until I interviewed my local librarians. That interaction opened up a career option that I never expected or considered. Four years later after graduating college with a B.A. in History and enrolling in Pitt’s Library Science Program, I knew there was nothing else that I would rather be doing and I still feel that way 7 years later. I have loved all of my library experiences from interning at a busy public library in downtown Pittsburgh to my current position at a small academic library. Every day is different and serving our patrons and communities is so fulfilling.


What advice do you have to give others who may be struggling?

Be kind to yourself and give yourself permission to feel whatever you’re feeling without judgement. For me personally, there are times when I struggle with feeling guilty about the loss of something like a canceled vacation that seems insignificant compared to the suffering of others who have lost so much during this time. If you feel the same way, I've found Brené Brown’s words to be a lifeline right now. Her podcast Unlocking Us includes some great thoughts and conversations including talking about struggle during this time. In one episode, she says “Comparative suffering is dangerous. Empathy is not finite. When we practice empathy, we create more empathy. The exhausted ER doctor doesn’t benefit more if you reserve your empathy only for her and ignore your feelings or withhold empathy from someone lower on the “suffering scale.” Hurt is hurt, and every time we honor our own struggle and the struggles of others by responding with empathy, the healing results affects all of us.” 1


1  Brené Brown, “Brené on Comparative Suffering, the 50/50 Myth, and Settling the Ball,” March 27, 2020 in Unlocking Us, produced by Brené Brown, podcast, mp3 audio,


Do you have a favorite PaLA Annual Conference location or experience? Why is that your favorite?

My first PaLA conference was in Pittsburgh in 2017 and I was attending as a poster presenter. It stands out to me because I hadn’t joined PaLA yet and I wanted to learn about the organization and meet other librarians who belonged to get a feel if it was right for me. Immediately after setting up my poster on our library’s therapy dog program, I was approached and gifted a copy of Madeline Finn and the Library Dog by Lisa Papp. I hadn’t been to any PaLA events before and the amount of encouragement and interest in my library’s program was overwhelming and the support from other librarians I had just met blew me away. I left feeling energized and knew that I had found an organization that I wanted to be a part of. This conference location and experience is my favorite because it’s where my journey in this organization started and I couldn’t be more grateful to be involved and be a part of such a professional, supportive and knowledgeable group of people in an organization that offers so many opportunities for programs, professional development, networking and support.

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