Diary of New Foundation Employee: Relearning the Library

Wendy reads with a froggy friend
Wendy reads with a froggy friend.

I grew up a Library Kid. The library was one of the first places mother-approved for a bike trip, sans parents. My mother could trust me to go, drop off my own books, pick up more, and come home ready to disappear into the new stack.

I thought I knew libraries.

Turns out, I was somewhat out of date. Before I started my work for The Friends of the Saint Paul Public Library and Library Strategies, I had not been in a public library more than a handful of times in a decade. In my defense, I worked for a university, and, being someone who inhales nonfiction, I used the university library for most of my reading needs. It seems, while I was off being an armchair historian/sociologist/anthropologist, libraries have been evolving.  

There are features of the Library of the Present that seem like the Library of the Future, and a great many additions surprised me. But perhaps they should not have. Libraries have always been a communal space in which books and information are shared among patrons, so the additions of everything from loanable bundt pans to recording studio space that anyone can book, seem like a natural step toward the kind of equity originally created by allowing (the horror!) ladies and children into libraries.

The next year will be a journey for me, as I rediscover everything that libraries hold, and everything they offer the communities in which they operate. I invite you to learn with me. (I’ll only be able to claim this naïve, ingenue energy for so long, so I might as well make the most of it.)

About me: I (Wendy) am the Programs and Services Assistant with the Friends of the Saint Paul Public Library and Library Strategies. I left University World for Library World in the fall of 2019. I have an MFA (Creative Writing) and a BA (Anthropology/English/Religion) from Hamline University.

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