Librarians help patrons find themselves in a book.

In September of 2006, I hopped on a plane to study theatre at Kingston University in London, England. Always an explorer, I have sought out new worlds by traveling, or discovered them through the art of reading, and created my own as a writer. What I didn’t realize after moving back to the United States was that my love for pursuing information would land me a position working with children at the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh. For two and a half years, I have helped toddlers who can barely talk, vibrant and striving patrons in their nineties, and all ages in between to seek out a world of fact or fantasy through books.

As a Children’s Specialist, I conduct storytimes for babies and toddlers, visit local schools to bring stories and programs to them, and assist in managing our collection of over 65,000 books.

Patrons who visit the library on a quest to find their next great read, or the perfect answer to a world history question come to me for the solution. While it may seem that librarianship is doing a Google search to find the title of a book, the career of being a librarian digs much deeper than any informational search.

Children who walk, run, or hop through the library find much more than pages filled with words smacked between two hard covers, they find magic—and as cheesy as it may sound, transporting them to that world is my job. I want adults, children, and everyone in between to discover the magic on these shelves, be it Harry Potter or Elephant and Piggie.

On any given day you can find me creating brand new programs like Sankofa Storytime, which helps African American children see themselves represented in the pages of books, or leading top to bottom tours of CLP-Main including history and architecture, and showing a parent how to read to their child so they enter Kindergarten ready to succeed. What I love almost as much as singing to a rambunctious gaggle of toddlers is helping manage our collection of literature. Processing new books, weeding old books that have staled on our shelves, and seeing what can be added to our collection without a doubt brings me some type of weird booklover joy.

There is a severe lack of children’s literature that represents our diverse world, and also a lack of librarians of color.

I am an advocate of inclusion on library shelves and among library staff. Attending mentoring conferences, taking diversity initiatives, and being that person who not only pushes for representation, but creates it, is an aspect of my job that I have gripped hold of tight.

I have a confession, I also live a secret life. During the day I prepare children for literacy success, at night I am a writer who brings the books on library shelves to life. In 2013, I graduated from Carnegie Mellon University with a Master of Fine Arts in Dramatic Writing. My position at Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh has honed my direction as a writer. I’ve merged my love of working with children with my love of writing for children. Picture books, middle grade, and young adult manuscripts fill my desk at home and the day my books make it to library shelves isn’t too far away.

I am the bridge that helps a patron find themselves and their passions in a book.

Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh empowers people to transform their lives through life-long learning, digital literacy, and connections to others. Visit their website to learn more about their mission to engage our community in literacy and learning.