I've worked downtown at the Central Library for almost two years and I am learning more and more about what it means to be homeless. Although I know every library has it's share of homeless patrons and issues with homelessness, I don't remember at my last branch being confronted with as many homeless families. They have unique needs and unfortunately in San Diego we do not have a permanent homeless shelter. We do have transitional living facilities, and I see the agencies that run these places as perfect community partners. We have similar goals, notably exemplary customer service and helping people who come to us get what they need (information, an listening ear, directions, internet, food, a warm bed, et al), and we are facing similar economic strains. If we pool our resources, the community will be better served, and the way our organizations are viewed and relied upon might change as well.
Every Friday I do storytimes at the preschool in St. Vincent de Paul Village. The challenges these children present me with each week are complex and yet, I feel like I am a better Librarian because I serve them. I know that a few storytimes are not going to make the education gap dissapear immediately, and that dancing and singing with Ms. Kirby is not going to take away the stress and trauma of living on the streets or in a car, but I believe it's a start. These kids keep me on my toes, and I am a constantly asking colleagues for advice, tips/tricks, and their favorite activities/stories/flannel to help keep my "friends" engaged and excited about reading (if you have any send them my way). I have established a partnership with St. Vincent's and the teachers at the preschool, and it benefits all involved.
Through my Cuddle Up & Read grant project with teen moms, I learned about The Salvation Army's Door of Hope program for homeless mothers with children. A new facet of this program has been introduced by San Diego Charger Ryan Mathews and his mom. Read more here: Trish & Ryan Mathews Door of Hope Chest. Check out the video (seriously, this guy looks so much like my brother it's CRAZY) and contact a future community partner today!
Joanna is the Youth Services Librarian for the Escondido Public Library. She does all of the collection development and programming for 'tweens and teens in addition to coordinating the teen summer volunteer program. She loves to do outreach and tries to get out into the community to promote reading and libraries as much as possible. When she's not at the library, Joanna loves to travel the globe and has already visited 14 countries and counting!
Courtney is the Young Adult Librarian at the Ovitt Family Community Library in Ontario. California, not Canada. She is responsible for all things teen in the library: programs, collection development, advocacy and more. Her proudest accomplishment is establishing a teen space in the library. When she’s not reading the newest dystopic zombie novel, you can find her at home with her husband and two little kiddos.
Marie is a Children's Services Librarian at the Oceanside Public Library. She strives to meet the needs of a diverse and vibrant community by providing dynamic programming, staffing the children's desk, and maintaining the kids' fiction collection among other things. She also loves reading and discussing children's and young adult literature and taking on various craft projects.
Hi! My name is Emily & I'm the Youth Services Librarian at the Carmel Valley Branch of the San Diego Public Library System. I began this position in May of 2012 and this is my first full time Librarian gig. I'm still feeling like I'm settling in at my branch and have a lot to learn. The Carmel Valley Branch is the busiest branch in the system, so there is never a dull moment. I love it! I first discovered I wanted to become a Youth Services Librarian when I was teaching preschool a few years back. I loved doing daily storytimes and introducing children to the wonderful world of books. However, I wanted to work with teens too. As a Youth Service Librarian I get to work with all young people; it's the perfect fit. The children's programming at Carmel Valley has always had very large attendance. The teen programming, not so much. One of my immediate goals is to get those numbers up and get teens excited about coming into the library. Stay tuned!