Ode to favorite libraries and librarians

LAC Group employees honor National Library Workers Day

Summit County Libraries
Summit County Libraries in Breckenridge, Colorado. Photo by Cate.

Who is your favorite librarian? Someone who influenced you as a child, supported your academic pursuits, engages and enlightens you in your adulthood.

What is your favorite library? The public library in your community, the library at your alma mater, a special library with a unique mission and purpose?

As part of National Library Week, we are sharing some of the favorites of our own employees.

Unbeknown to many, LAC Group is one of the largest private employers of librarians and library support staff in the United States. 54% of our employees have library training and experience, most of them with master’s degrees in library and information science.

Today, April 10, 2018, we honor National Library Workers Day by recognizing some of our favorite libraries located around the country and often going back in time to acknowledge the librarians who inspired us.

First library card

“From the time we were little kids, my brothers and I loved the library. On Saturdays, our Mom would take us to the library and she and we would all select these ginormous stacks of books to be devoured on hot afternoons. When my brother Will was about 4, he desperately wanted to have his very own card. Mrs. Brock, the children’s librarian, told him he was too young to have his own card, but if he would practice writing out his first and last name so he could sign his card neatly, she would make an exception. And so he did, and Mrs. Brock kept her word. Libraries are not for books, they are for people.”

Kathrine

John Jermain Memorial Library in New York

“I grew up on the eastern end of Long Island, New York, and have fond memories of studying after school in the John Jermain Memorial Library in Sag Harbor. The building was commissioned and built in 1910 by Mrs. Russell Sage, considered Sag Harbor’s greatest benefactor, in memory of her grandfather, Major John Jermain. When I was a kid, it was still treated a bit more like a museum than the vibrant community center it has become today. It was here that I first read “A Wrinkle in Time” in its original 1960s dust-jacket with plastic cover.”

Carolyn

Batavia Public Library in Illinois

“My favorite librarian is my first librarian, of course! I grew up in Batavia, Illinois and during the summer months when we weren’t in school, my sister and I practically lived at the library—one of the oldest public libraries in the Fox Valley, tracing its beginnings to 1868 as a library association. Miriam Havighurst Johnson served as librarian there from 1939 to 1973. As a child, I used to think she lived on the overdue fines she collected, two pennies per day, per book. I wondered how she got by.”

Roberta

Harrison County Library System in Mississippi

“First, let’s remember that National Library Week is not just for public libraries but a celebration of all libraries. My favorite library has always been the original public library in my hometown of Biloxi, Mississippi. It was a beautiful and magical place. I loved to curl up with a book in one of the window seats, especially when it was raining outside. I have a couple favorite librarians, but my junior high librarian, Ms. Eyrich, is the one who started me on the path to librarianship.”

Del

Teton County library in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.

Teton County Library in Wyoming

“I grew up in Jackson Hole, Wyoming and was fortunate enough to experience this idyllic town before it was transformed into a different world. The Teton County library at that time was a cabin, and everyone rode their bikes there and parked them out front. It was always cozy inside, especially upstairs by the wood-burning stove. The floors were covered in thick, shag carpet that could easily hide a small animal. As gross as it sounds now, my friends and I would bask in these musky carpet fibers and spend hours reading. Shel Sliverstein, anyone? I also loved the smell and texture of the tattered card catalogs. If it were possible to capture the essence of an old building, I would pay top dollar for several bottles. A few decades ago a new, swanky library was constructed. My beloved cabin is now a historical building.”

Jennifer

 Summit County Libraries in Colorado

“My favorite public library is in Breckenridge, Colorado. Most people associate Breckenridge with skiing, as it’s one of the largest ski resorts in the United States. However, Breckenridge is also a community with nearly 5000 residents, as well as the county seat of Summit County. The public library is a short walk from Main Street, in a stately brick building that dates back over 100 years as the county’s first schoolhouse. I love going there to work or read and it’s also a beautiful place for sitting, reflecting and gazing out at the mountains.”

Cate

Public library in Alhambra, California

“In elementary school, weekly book reports were part of our reading comprehension lessons. The library on campus carried a small selection of books so I visited the local library in Alhambra, California. My memories of the library, formerly located on Main Street, are of my dad taking me to the children’s section Saturday mornings to borrow a book for my assignment. Overwhelmed by their extensive collection, I spent quite some time walking up and down the aisles, picking books off the shelves and reading the first few chapters. Eventually, I would settle on one to write my report on, but also checked out one or two other books I just couldn’t leave behind.”

Milan

The Morgan Library & Museum
The Morgan Library and Museum in New York. Photo by Katharine.

Morgan Library and Museum in New York

“My favorite library is the gem known as The Morgan Library & Museum in midtown Manhattan, a short walk from Grand Central Station. It was founded by J. P. Morgan in 1906 to house his private library. I worked across the street from it for a few years and had not yet discovered rare books. At that time, I was an editor at Oxford University Press. I, um, only went to the gift shop. Then I went to library school and eventually became a rare book librarian and was abashed at my previous cluelessness. My primary area of study is medieval manuscripts, and The Morgan is in possession of one I am currently writing about, so I have to find as much time as I can to go look at it. It’s also a venue for fine art, literature, and music. Currently showing are exhibits on Tennessee Williams, medieval art and drawings by Rubens, Van Dyck, and Jordaens. You should go, if you’ve never been—it’s a treat.”

Katharine

New Castle Public Library in Pennsylvania

“In my hometown public library in New Castle, Pennsylvania, Pat McCormick, who is possibly the best librarian ever, helped me from elementary school on up through high school graduation with book reports, research projects, and personal enrichment. If I had a question, Pat always knew where to find the answer. It was like magic! I have always loved libraries, but I came about this career in a round-about way. I have a background in journalism and art. I enjoyed an internship in a museum, and after managing my own business for a while, I decided to earn my MLIS degree with the intention of working in a museum or cultural heritage institution with a focus on digital images and other visual material. Then I took a fellowship working with scientific data and ended up continuing this trajectory after graduation. It’s not the path I anticipated, but I enjoy my job, which includes working with a top-notch team to refine and grow access to digital scientific research data.”

Erin

Let’s ask you again—What is your favorite library? Honor it by supporting it with your patronage, and if it’s a public or school library, with your help to ensure it remains funded.

Who is your favorite librarian? Go to the National Library Workers Day website and enter your nomination there. Every year, on Tuesday of National Library Week, the American Library Association honors the hard work, dedication and expertise of library support staff and librarians and to advocate for better compensation for all library workers.

This year we salute all those talented professionals—especially those who work for LAC Group.