The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, January 25, 2008

Features

Gleason's new librarians bring energy and experience to their jobs

The Gleason Public Library welcomed two new librarians in 2007, Erica St. Peter and Nancy Boutet. Library Director Angela Mollet urges townspeople to "come to the library and meet Nancy and Erica for yourselves." She continues, "From research, to technology and, of course, the books, Nancy and Erica are well-poised to handle the huge range of questions, programs and situations Carlisle brings forward."

A librarian for the teens

Teenagers at the Gleason Public Library are a distinct user group, different from all other library patrons, and they even have their own librarian. Erica St. Peter is the library's new teen librarian, having joined the staff in December 2007. Originally from upstate New York, she received her bachelor of arts in Literature from Middlebury College and her master's degree in Library Science from Syracuse University in August 2007. She then completed an internship at St. George's School in Middletown, Rhode Island.

Since St. Peter is not much older than the teenage population she serves, she is enthusiastic about her job and shares the vitality of Carlisle teens. Asked about her experience so far, she commented, "I'm glad I followed my hunch and accepted the job offer. Everyone is so welcoming, and I am happy to be part of this close-knit community. I find the kids here to be so worldly and enthusiastic."

Working with TOGA

St. Peter works with Teens of Gleason Advisory TOGA), a focus group consisting mostly of fifth- through eighth-grade volunteers, who brainstorm ideas for teen-oriented library programs. On her first day at the library, St. Peter attended the monthly TOGA meeting and was pleasantly surprised to see the collaboration and team spirit at this meeting.

What are some of the challenges of working with this age group? St. Peter had this to say: "The main challenge I've had in working with teens is their very busy schedules. These kids are absolutely in high demand and engaged in many different activities. While this makes them all the more interesting people and valuable resources from whom I am eager to learn, it is often difficult for teens to find time to make it to the library." She adds, "Through the TOGA group, events and outreach, I'm hoping to bring more kids into the library to remind them of all of the great resources that the Gleason Public Library has to offer."

Plan for TOGA event

St.. Peter shared a few of her plans for 2008. "I'm in the very early stages of planning a springtime gaming event with my TOGA group. While I have almost no concrete details as of yet, I know that it will be open to about 30 or so fifth through eighth-graders, and will happen on a Friday, after hours." The energetic librarian also has plans to renovate the teen space in the library, "to make it more welcoming to [teens]. I am thinking of adding a bulletin board in this space where teen patrons can add their recommendations, book requests and book reviews."

St. Peter would like to hear from more teenagers and can be reached at estpeter@mvlc.org or at the library on Tuesday, Thursday and Friday afternoons. She looks forward to helping kids find books that spark their curiosity, as well as to assist them in searching for research materials to complete school assignments.

Nancy Boutet, aka Rita Skeeter

If you attended the Harry Potter party at the Gleason Library last summer, you may have already met Nancy Boutet; she was dressed as Rita Skeeter. She started working at the library as a substitute last January and in May 2007 was named children's librarian. She has a very bubbly personality, and it is hard to resist a conversation with her.

A technical writer for high tech companies for 20 years, Boutet's career transition to library science came as a surprise to her. She was room mother for her children's elementary grades, but during their middle school years, parents could volunteer only in the school library. The school librarian casually suggested that she consider going to library school to become a librarian. Boutet commented, "Up to that day it had never occurred to me that I could do something else. I took her advice and enrolled at Simmons College in their master's program for Library and Information Science. This was the best thing I ever did for myself." Boutet has one more semester left to complete her master's.

A variety of library skills

Boutet had this to say about her work at Gleason: "First of all, the people are incredible. In addition, I get to do a variety of tasks like reference, children's room activities, cataloging and circulation. This gives me tremendous opportunity to use my computer skills, Internet skills and learn new things. I am thrilled to be here, and I definitely do not miss the corporate games I had to put up with at my high tech job. No one here is trying to push over you to get to the top!"

Boutet finds it extremely satisfying that she could put her library-school education to immediate use. She recently took a marketing course and used her newly acquired skills to redesign the Gleason logo on library cards, business cards and other stationery. During the month of February, library patrons can trade in their old card for the new contemporary version for free.

Book clubs for the kids

Looking to the future, Boutet would like to start book clubs or other reading programs for children in the elementary grades, as they have outgrown the current story-time offerings. She would love to hear suggestions from parents and kids at nboutet@mvlc.org, or she can be reached at the library at 1-978-369-4898. Better still, stop by and see her; her hours are Mondays, late afternoon, Tuesdays 1 to 9 and Thursdays 10 to 6. Any time of the day or evening, Boutet's high energy will be evident as she enthusiastically serves Carlisle children.

"From leading story times to running TOGA meetings and handling historical questions," said Mollet, "each of the new librarians has applied her own unique experience, education, love of literature, creativity and attention to customer service to the benefit of the Gleason's visitors.


2008 The Carlisle Mosquito