At JPL we’ve got a ton of valuable resources that we encourage you to take advantage of, but our best resources by far are our fabulous librarians. This Thanksgiving week we checked in with some of our team to see what elements of JPL they are most thankful about. Now, it’s time to turn the tables. Read on to discover a little bit about what makes some of our staff members unique, and why we are so thankful to have them on our team.
Rafael Reid is a relatively new member to the JPL team; next February will make it a year! In that time he has been working with kids at the Main Library and Webb Wesconnect Branch. Now, he’s back at Main in the Teen Department. Working with kids is not everyone’s cup of tea, but Rafael does it so naturally. When I asked what he did before coming to JPL, the answer definitely surprised me. Turns out, he spent 24 years in the Navy! Of course, I had to find out if he used any of those Navy skills when it came to working with kids. He just smiled and simply said “people skills.” Mostly, Rafael says he just loves working with the kids. “It’s easy to start them on the right track” he said “That goes for teens as well.” Rafael may be out of the Navy, but he’s still serving – just in a different capacity.
John Wilson works in Popular Fiction and at the Makerspace at the Main Library. He brings a lot of life to the table. From being a social worker, a graduate student, a nationally touring lighting designer and a construction worker, it seems like John has done a little bit of everything. It may seem strange that he ended up working with JPL, but it makes more sense than you’d think. Besides spending time with his family, John said he likes three things more than anything. “I like books, I like helping people, and I like sharing information.” Three things we like to think we excel at, and John fits right in.Carisia Rooney has been with the library for about 12 years. For most of that time she has been a beloved children’s librarian at Southeast Regional Branch. More recently, thanks to her amazing work with children, she was promoted. She is now thriving as the head of Youth Services for the Main Library and the Urban Core branches. It was kind of by accident that Carisia ended up being such a big part of the youth services team at JPL. Thanks to a job coach (who occasionally does workshops at the library), Carisia went to get her Masters in Library Science, and she embarked on a new career. We couldn’t be more grateful to that job coach! Carisia has grown a lot with her time at JPL, and we’re appreciative of that too. When she first started creating programs for small children she used to be so nervous. The kind of nervous where she would forget the words to songs like “If you’re happy and you know it.” Now, she’s setting building blocks in place so she can help her team build and grow their own programs confidently. Her kindness and ability to help where needed is well-known across youth services departments.
We hope you love and appreciate your librarians as much as we do. Read more here to learn how you can support the entire JPL system in the coming days. While we can’t quite encourage you to give each of your local librarians a big bear hug, a big thank you will just have to do.