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A blog about our members and their experience in PaLA

 

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Top tags: Aaron Dobbs  Chris Snyder  Dana Barber  Elizabeth Davis  Janis Stubbs  Josh Berk  Kelly Clever  Marcia Stiller  Marguerite Dube  Melissa Rowse  Membership  Sheli Pratt-McHugh  Susan Jefferey 

Meet Linda Raub Esposito, Southwest Chapter Membership Chair

Posted By Susan Wertz, Monday, July 27, 2020
Updated: Friday, July 24, 2020

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!

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Meet Katie Q. Manwiller, Lehigh Valley Chapter Member

Posted By Susan Wertz, Wednesday, July 8, 2020
Updated: Tuesday, July 7, 2020

Katie Quirin Manwiller
Lehigh Valley Chapter member,
CRD Membership Liaison

 

Tell us about your journey to working in libraries.

I spent much of my childhood going to public libraries with my grandmother, who volunteered at my local branch – the Mifflin Community Library in Shillington, PA. My first introduction to interlibrary loan came as a tween, requesting books online from the other Berks County branches. I did not, however, know at that point that I wanted to be a librarian.

 

I figured it out (mostly) while in undergrad at Gettysburg College. I so thoroughly enjoyed my time in their Special Collections and working with the librarians that I decided library school at the University of Pittsburgh was my next step. I focused in archives, and worked two years as a lone arranger before realizing instruction and outreach was where I would rather be. I’m now the Evening Public Services and Assessment Librarian at DeSales University and deeply enjoy my work.

 

How are you staying productive and motivated to work from home?

Lists! I’m generally a list person, but it has been extra helpful now that I’m working from home. I use a paper planner to keep track of daily to-dos and meetings. Being able to physically cross something off a list makes it feel like I’ve accomplished something each day. I also have an on-going Word Doc of what I’ve completed on a daily basis since work from home started. I use this Doc to write a weekly to-do list for myself, deleting tasks as they’re finished. These lists help me stay on track with what I need to get done and acknowledge my contributions to my library, which are sometimes less visible in the virtual environments.

 

What activities or hobbies are you enjoying during this time?

A bit stereotypical for quarantine, but I’m baking more than usual. I’m learning how to bake macarons though, not bread. They are extremely finicky to get right, but still taste delicious when they aren’t perfect, so it has been fun to try to figure them out. Here’s the basic recipe I’ve been using.

 

I also finally started reading ebooks, using Hoopla and Libby. I have been using both apps for a while for audiobooks but was an ebook hold-out until the pandemic ended getting print books from my local public library (Lower Macungie Library). I am now ahead of schedule for my reading goal for the year!

 

How has your PaLA membership helped you?

PaLA has been my home within the professional library community. When I started my current position, I needed to develop my skills as an academic librarian and turned to PaLA’s College and Research Division for help. After slowly building my knowledge through CRD’s Conference programming, workshops, and Virtual Journal Club, I joined the CRD as a Member-at-Large and eventually the Membership Liaison. PaLA has given me a way to gain experience and actively contribute to the profession in a manageable and constructive way. I have found it to have an array of opportunities for involvement and education in an environment that is less overwhelming than national organizations. My PaLA colleagues and experiences have helped me gain confidence as a librarian and give back to our larger library community.

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Meet Rebecca Dzikowski - Northeast Chapter, Pennsylvania Library Association Volunteer

Posted By Susan Wertz, Tuesday, June 23, 2020
Updated: Wednesday, June 17, 2020

 

Rebecca Dzikowski
Northeast Chapter, Pennsylvania Library Association Volunteer
, Member of both Membership and Mentorship Committees

 

What was the last five-star book you read?

I’m still in the process of reading Graham Greene’s “The Power and the Glory,” but I think I can safely give it a five-star rating already! I’m mostly listening to it through Audible on my walks around the neighborhood, and it provides plenty of food for thought.

 How have libraries impacted your life?

Libraries, and of course, books, have always been hugely important to me. I started life as a regular story-time attender at my local public library, where I later worked as a page throughout high school. After studying literature in college, it was a natural progression to go to library school for my MLIS. Since then, I’ve loved providing reference services and now, cataloging at the University of Scranton. Libraries are the best!

What activities or hobbies are you enjoying during this time?

As I mentioned, I’ve started taking more walks, even digging out the old pedometer to see if I can make 10,000 steps per day. Sometimes one of my children comes with me, and we’ve had some great conversations while we explore new paths-literally! We just found a path through the woods behind our house that leads to a local park. We’ve lived here for three years and never known it was there!

 We’re also eating scandalous amounts of ice cream. Somehow it has become a routine that, when my husband and I go shopping once per week, we bring back new flavors for the family to try. I can’t imagine what would happen here at home if we forgot the weekly ice cream supply! It’s been a fun distraction.

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

I’m a fairly new member. The former Dean of our library, Charles Kratz, encouraged me to join in the fall of 2018 and referred me to Sheli Pratt-McHugh. Sheli walked me through the membership process and recommended that I take advantage of PaLA’s mentorship program. I participated as a mentee last year and had a great experience. This past fall, Sheli invited me to join the mentorship committee (which is a subcommittee of the membership committee). My supervisor, Marleen Cloutier, is the current chair of the Northeast Chapter and encourages me to be as active as possible in PaLA. I am already seeing the ways in which my membership benefits me, as I make connections with other librarians across the state and learn from them. I hope to become more involved as time goes on!

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Meet Dana Barber - Southeast (SEPLA) Chapter, Membership Chair

Posted By Susan Wertz, Monday, June 1, 2020
Updated: Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Dana Barber, Southeast (SEPLA) Chapter, Membership Chair

 

 


What are some silver linings you have discovered during this time?

One of my favorite things about being home during the pandemic is having time with my family. In addition to taking walks and bike rides, we have been binge watching The Goldbergs, which is guaranteed to bring us all some much-needed laughter and levity.

How are you staying sane during social distancing?

I think it’s questionable as to whether I am staying sane at this point during the stay-at-home order. It’s definitely been a struggle trying to keep my two school age daughters on point with their schoolwork while simultaneously working with library staff to pivot our services from in-person to virtual. That being said, it’s been rewarding as well. I am more involved with my children’s daily school lessons and it’s great to see them interact with their school mates and teachers during virtual lessons. In addition, I am constantly blown away by the creativity of my coworkers and others in the library field during this time. We have risen to the challenge and I have never been so proud to be part of the library community.

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

Personally, I find staying busy keeps me distracted from the daily pandemic updates. I try to focus on what I can control instead. I think that is key to maintaining your sanity - along with going easy on yourself. Take frequent breaks and practice self-care! Personally, I have found a fun way to de-stress and exercise by having regular dance parties with Ryan Heffington (@ryan.heffington) on Instagram. I highly recommend checking it out!

What activities or hobbies are you enjoying during this time?

I am excited to go back to knitting since I have been home. I never seem to have time during a regular work week and then my family is always so busy with activities on weekends. While home, I have knitted several sweaters for myself and family, taught my oldest to knit, and have even attended weekly virtual knitting and crocheting nights hosted by my library. This creative outlet combined with the social aspect of meetup with other knitters has been a great stress reliever.

How did you first get involved in Pennsylvania Library Association (PaLA)? Did you receive encouragement from anyone in particular?

I originally started attending SEPLA (South East Chapter) meetings at the suggestion of the previous Library Director at the Grundy Library. Her mentorship and support throughout the early part of my career helped to solidify my continued involvement in the association at both the chapter and state level

How has your Pennsylvania Library Association (PaLA) membership helped you?

My involvement in PaLA has connected me with a variety of opportunities to develop my leadership skills and to build my professional network. As a participant in both the PaLA Academy of Leadership Studies (PALS) as well as the Office of Commonwealth Libraries Director’s Institute and a regular attendee at the PaLA Annual Conference and the SEPLA Annual Conference, I have learned first hand the value of membership. It has not only assisted me in staying current and informed about the latest news and developments in the library field, but it has also helped me foster lasting friendships and professional relationships with colleagues across the state. Such connections have helped guide me through difficult points in my career serving as much needed sounding boards, pillars of support, and fonts of knowledge, and respected advisors. Having this professional network has been a saving grace especially during times of adversity as when dealing with budget cuts or the current pandemic.

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Meet Emily Reed - Mentoring Subcommittee Program Chair

Posted By Susan Wertz, Monday, May 25, 2020
Updated: Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Emily Reed, PaLA Volunteer:

Mentoring Subcommittee Program Chair; Membership Committee Member; College and Research Division Tech Coordinator; Teaching, Learning & Technology Round Table Planning Committee Member

What is your favorite movie or TV show?

My favorite TV show is Survivor on CBS. I absolutely love watching the social dynamics at play while information is the most valuable commodity. Watching how players decide to either be forthcoming with information or hide it is so fascinating to me!

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

I start my day with a cup of coffee and lots of water. When I was still commuting to work pre-COVID, I would also bring along a thermos of either Lady Grey tea or Irish Breakfast tea. I’ve been using the time working from home to decrease my caffeine intake and am only drinking one cup of coffee each day.

Tell us about your journey to working in libraries.

I got my start in public libraries at the Simpson Public Library in Mechanicsburg the summer after graduating college with my bachelor’s degree in music education. I absolutely loved my time working at Simpson! I got experience working the front-lines at the main circulation desk and in the children’s library. I also got to be a substitute for leading children’s programs occasionally like various story times and toddler times.

Working at Simpson led to my first full time work in libraries - I was made aware of an opening at a local elementary school library that was looking for a full time library aide. So my first full time job in libraries was working in an elementary school library . . . which I also loved! I learned a lot about collection development, how to process and catalog physical books, and how to work with teachers. What I loved most about this job was that I got to know every student at the school.

At this point, I knew that my future was in libraries, so I began pursuing my MLIS. Once I graduated, I started applying for professional jobs, and ended up transitioning to academic libraries. I now work at Penn State Harrisburg as a reference and instruction librarian and am absolutely loving everything about my job!

How are you staying productive and motivated to work from home?

I’m doing my best to work outside when it’s sunny and warm (it hasn’t been too sunny or warm in the Harrisburg region lately, unfortunately). I also try to make sure I have a quiet work environment so that I can focus on the task at hand and not get distracted.

What activities or hobbies are you enjoying during this time?

I’m actually getting back into reading for fun again! I haven’t done too much reading unrelated to work over the past few years; I’m taking advantage of my Libby account and getting some reading done from home. I’m also part of a couple online book clubs which have provided me with some good reading material. I’m currently reading The Dog Stars by Peter Heller.

What was the first PaLA division, committee, or round table you joined in a leadership capacity?

My first leadership position with PaLA was as a member of the Teaching, Learning & Technology Round Table Planning Committee. I chaired this round table in 2018.

What advice would you give to new members, or someone considering membership?

My advice would be to plan some goals for yourself, and see how membership in PaLA could play into those goals. Goals could include professional service, networking, professional development, seeking employment, gaining access to local library-related information, etc. Membership in PaLA would help with any of those goals!

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Meet Sheli Pratt-McHugh - 3rd VP, Membership Chair

Posted By Christi Buker, Friday, May 8, 2020
Updated: Friday, May 8, 2020

 

Meet Sheli Pratt-McHugh

3rd Vice President, Membership Committee Chair, PaLA

 

What was the last five-star book you read?

I recently read Ann Patchett’s The Dutch House and loved it so much! I immediately read her book Commonwealth and also loved that! I love how she weaves family stories together over generations, with insight and care for each character.

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

I am a coffee-addict! I had really reduced my intake a few years ago and was only having 2 cups a day...till the pandemic and now I probably have 3 or 4...maybe more! I remember when I was first dating my husband and my BFF told him to give me coffee every two hours to keep me happy. I think I’m getting back to that point.

What activities or hobbies are you enjoying during this time?

I’m keeping up with my running. Though I normally run with a group, I’m venturing out solo and that’s hard. My group shared a schedule, so at least we are doing the same workouts even if we’re not together. Having my running friends to check in with each week really helps to stay motivated!

 I’ve also been cooking a lot more! My parents have made some videos for me so I can learn how to make their recipes myself. I made a batch of homemade dough, from that I made spaghetti, fettuccine, manicotti, and farfalle. My family only knows how to cook in bulk, so that’s a useful skill to have right now. My daughter helped make the farfalle (butterfly) pasta. It’s been fun to share new experiences with her!

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

My first supervisor at my old library, Scott Thomas at Scranton Public Library, encouraged me to join PaLA. He was supportive with time from my desk to attend chapter events and meetings. I quickly became involved on the chapter level and served with colleagues from SPL and around my region. I then served on the Technical Services Round-Table and made connections in my field of librarianship as well.

How has your PaLA membership helped you?

I was a member of the inaugural PALS cohort where I learned about leadership skills and styles and made connections that I maintain to this day. Shortly after that experience (and partially due to that experience to some extent) I made the switch from public to academic librarianship and PaLA was integral in my success with the tenure and promotion process. I fulfilled service to my profession through serving on PaLA Committees and boards; I shared my research at PaLA workshops and conferences; I learned from my PaLA colleagues improving my knowledge of librarianship, and honing my speaking and writing skills. The impact on my work is truly innumerable!

 PaLA has also helped me in dealing with the current state of the world. I have used the resources provided by the association to find out what other libraries are doing to stay healthy, provide services, and share accurate reliable information. I also relied on my PaLA colleagues to provide advice, solace, and laughter during this time. I’m so grateful for the friendships and connections to get through this crisis and I know we are stronger together because of the association.

 

Tags:  Membership  Sheli Pratt-McHugh 

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Meet Aaron Dobbs, PaLA Teaching, Learning & Technology Round Table Chair

Posted By Aaron Dobbs, Tuesday, August 16, 2016

I joined PaLA in 2014 (or was it 2013?), seven or eight years after moving to Pennsylvania for a library job. I had been heavily involved in the Tennessee Library Association and was (still am) crazy-active nationally in ALA. I’m sure there was some lame excuse for not joining when I got here, I have no idea what it was, but now that I am a member (an active member, of course) I really wish I’d joined from day one.

     Why get involved at the state level?

That’s easy: everything is local, results can be seen more quickly, and all politics start at the local level.

     How did I become involved in libraries?

That’s a long convoluted tale: Mom brought me to our excellent town library as a wee bairn… My active involvement starts with receiving help from a girl-friend who worked at Storrs Library in high school, continues with a girlfriend who worked in the Mastics-Moriches-Shirley Community Library in college; it dips into improbability when a truck driver & NYC nightclub bouncer (me) gets a job at the NYPL Research Libraries (page in the stacks, library assistant 1 in Manuscripts and Archives, library assistant 3 in the Office of Special Collections), discovered for myself that working in libraries is COOL, and applies (and gets) a teaching assistant position at a library school in Tennessee where I met my wife; and then wends its way through public libraries (Brooklyn NY & Chattanooga TN), special libraries (SunTrust Equitable Securities Investment Banking Group), and into academic libraries (Austin Peay State University (TN) & now Shippensburg University. There are a terrifying number of stories along that path, most many some of which are even believable.

•     What sort of interesting, yet improbable, info is available about me?

Well: [redacted, it’s too soon], [redacted, to protect the identities of the innocent], I’ve served on ALA Council since just after I moved to PA (2007), and I have physically crossed into and out of more than half the counties of the United States at least once – depending on which of my Rand McNally atlases I reference, I have either one or five PA counties to go: Elk, Forest, McKean, Sullivan, & Warren.

Tags:  Aaron Dobbs 

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Meet Susan Jeffery, Library Director and PaLA Member

Posted By Susan Jefferey, Tuesday, June 14, 2016

My name is Susan Jeffery, and I am the Library Director at North Pocono Public Library in Moscow, PA.

  • I have been the director of the North Pocono Public Library for 7+ years and during that time, we raised funds and built a beautiful, new 8,400 sq. foot library. Our library has a unique Reading Tree and a 7 foot giraffe named Kevin, our mascot!
  • I have worked in several different public libraries and have found that it is important to recognize that every community is different and our job is to meet and exceed the expectations of that community!
  • PaLA is an important part of my professional life. It provides opportunities for networking, gathering new information, learning new concepts and gaining new perspectives on librarianship. It helps me to better serve my community.
  • I love PA Forward and work to promote it in my library! I serve as the Chair for the Health Literacy Committee. We are working on a grant from the NN/LM MAR, to promote consumer health literacy and to learn more about effective evaluation of programs in libraries!
  • My favorite children’s books include: Chicka-Chicka Boom Boom, Caps for Sale, and Julie Edward’s Mandy. I love when I have the opportunity to do our music and movement story time – singing and dancing with the toddlers makes me happy! 


Tags:  Susan Jefferey 

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Meet Chris Snyder, PaLA Member since 1982

Posted By Chris Snyder, Thursday, May 26, 2016

I knew I was going to be a librarian since 2nd grade when my mom, who was a volunteer at my elementary school in Brooklyn, harangued the principal about why the school library was closed. “Well, Rose”, she said, “open it.” And so we did. I spent hours with her during the summer un-mothballing the one-room library. When school started in September, I became her only ‘paid’ assistant (a weekly treat from the school store). There was never a doubt in my mind that this was what I was meant to do with my life.

Fast forward 13 years to when I graduated Shippensburg University with a degree in school librarianship and secondary English education and became the first female teacher in an all-male high school.  It was quite the experience and two of the school’s worst troublemakers were, hands-down, my best library aides. (“Hey, Ms. S, you want us to get you those overdue fines?”   “No, no! I’ll take care of it…”)

After five years, I took a job as a cataloger in a public library and changed my PSLA (PA School Librarians Association) membership for a PaLA membership (although it was PLA back then). My years in PaLA served me well as I moved along in my career from cataloger to Technical Services Manager to System Administrator and now, to District Consultant for Bucks County. I served on committees for SEPLA and attended workshops and conferences which strengthened my job skills and taught me to network.  I’m proud to have been asked to serve on state-level committees and give back to an association that has helped me so much professionally AND given me a cadre of friends who actually understand what I’m talking about when I feel the need to grump about RDA or celebrate getting a sticky piece of ILS coding to cooperate.  PaLA members don’t roll their eyes at these stories as much as my husband and children do…

Thank you, PaLA!!!

Tags:  Chris Snyder 

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Meet Marcia Stiller, PaLA Northwest Chapter

Posted By Marcia Stiller, Monday, March 7, 2016

I’m Marcia Stiller, the Director of the Corry Public Library in southeast Erie County (yes that does sound like an oxymoron). I am also the 2016 past-chair of the NW Chapter of PaLA.

I joined PaLA when I became a library director in 2011. The Library Board had decided to send me to the annual conference and (ICYMI) members receive a discounted rate.  At that time I was only measuring value in cost; a mistake I think many of us may be guilty of. The value provided by PaLA is much more than discounts to conferences & workshops or coupons from vendors.

PaLA provides a platform for Pennsylvania library professionals to exchange ideas and collaborate. PaLA provides tools like PA Forward that help us in our everyday advocacy efforts. Also PaLA sponsors professional development opportunities on both the state and chapter levels.

Yes, you may (gasp!) get asked to volunteer. But why would you say no to helping further libraries and engage the public? Unless I’m mistaken you’re doing these things already. So why not borrow ideas from others doing the same? Why not use the PA Forward brand to strengthen your grant requests and advocacy efforts? (Plus, it will save you time!) 

Tags:  Marcia Stiller 

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