Kelly is the Head of Circulation and has worked for FADL since 1998. She orders for the music collection, she is a jiu jitsu practitioner, and she is also a pretty darn good amateur baker.
Elissa: What do you love about working at FADL?
Kelly: I really like that no matter what your position is, there are opportunities for your ideas and passions to be integrated into your work. We’ve had pages participate in programs and developing programs, and it’s pretty rare for a non-librarian to be a selector for a collection so I feel privileged that I get to purchase music and (soon to come) video games.
E: Best or favorite part of your job?
K: Two things: I really like working with a patron to resolve an issue, especially when the patron starts out angry or upset and just kind of doing the investigative work to figure out what happened with their account.
E: Because you’re Head of Circulation, you help to settle patron fines and lost items, etc., right?
K: Working with the patron is key. It’s really nice when you can make a situation better for somebody and get them access back when they thought you were going to play hardball with them.
E: You said there were two things you liked?
K: With the concerts I help with, there’s usually a moment about ten minutes in when the band has started playing and the audience is there and I look away from my camera or phone and I look at the people enjoying a thing I helped to make happen. There have been times that I’ve literally been brought to tears because there are people dancing, clapping. It’s especially rewarding when you have a patron you’d never imagine would come to the program or that they’d enjoy it. It makes my heart swell.
E: What do people get wrong about your job?
K: I think a lot of people assume that I’m the meanie that’s going to come and put their foot down (especially from the patron side). A lot of people ask for the manager and I don’t think they expect to have somebody listen to what they have to say and try to work it out for the best for both parties.
E: How do you see libraries adapting to the current situation? What do you like about what libraries are offering?
K: I think some of the things we assumed were the way we had to do things–a lot of that is falling away. I think a lot of libraries resisted doing online library card applications because they thought it would be really time-consuming for staff to process those applications, but because of the pandemic, as soon as we realized patrons couldn’t come in but that we wanted them to be able to access these online resources we’ve offered, we set to work on an online library card application. And it’s been a breeze! I also think there will be lots of libraries that won’t charge fines when we get back to normal because it’s what patrons will expect at this point. So a new kind of leniency on patrons I think is a good thing. Something I’ve always said is that the library is super important to us because it’s our job but for our patrons it’s not even 20th on the list which doesn’t mean they don’t value us but it’s just not at the forefront of their mind everyday. So if they check out 25 children’s books and life gets in the way, we don’t want to cut off their access if they don’t bring the items back.
E: What’s your favorite digital resource we offer?
K: I think there’s a difference between favorite and the one I use the most. The one I use the most is Libby, although I do use Hoopla. I’m an avid audiobook listener–it’s the only way I read. But I think my favorite is Novelist+. This needs the most promoting because it’s amazing.
K: Novelist+ is like a therapist for your reading because it uses language and tools to show you what you’re actually thinking about books.
E: Because you listen to a lot of audiobooks, what do you look for in a narrator?
K: British. And someone who is expressive. Someone who sounds like the story means something to them. Beware, authors are not always the best readers of their own books. No to the Thomas Harris version of the Silence of the Lambs.
E: There’s something about the subtleties of voice narrators
K: Yes, the Game of Thrones narrator is great at that.
E: What do you love about Ferndale as a community/city?
K: It’s weird here. And I like that. Over the years, I’ve met lots and lots of people from this community that have kind of changed my idea of what a progressive community looks like. And I think Ferndale has like different strata of people. So if you don’t work in Ferndale or live in Ferndale you might assume everyone is crunchy granola white people with homeschooled children, but you’ll meet a lot of POC, people with lots of money, not a lot of money. But I think the thing that makes them Ferndalians is this kind of sense of like we’re going to do it our way.
E: What have you been doing to stay occupied during quarantine?
K: Oh god. Well I can tell you what I haven’t been doing. I’ve only managed to read one audiobook this entire time. And that was Between the World and Me, which was only three and half hours long! But I’ve been trying new recipes. I even did part of an EdX course on science and cooking. Oh yeah, jiu jitsu in my house with my boyfriend (sorry, neighbors!).
E: Has anything from the collection been getting you through?
K: Consumer Reports.
E: You go on it for fun?
K: No! I bought an air fryer and some headphones. So I used it to make a good choice about what I bought. And cookbooks from the collection.
E: What do you miss most about “regular” life? What are you looking forward to doing again once it’s safe?
K: Retail therapy.
K: Target. I’ve been in stores but it doesn’t feel the same. Back to jiu jitsu would be nice, and travel.
E: Where to?
K: I don’t know. Exploring little towns within a few hours’ drive from here.
E: Any pets?
K: One of the bummer things during the pandemic is I lost my 17-year-old cat Zoot. It was a blessing in a way because I could be with her more than when I was at work, but it was tough.
E: What’s the best advice you ever received?
K: It’s a quote I had on a magnet that I got from the DIA. It’s a quote from George Eliot: “It’s never too late to be what you might have been.” It’s a good reminder that it’s never too late.
E: If I gave you $100, what would you spend it on?
K: (Laughs.) Oh my, let me think. If I could safely get a manicure and pedicure I would go do that.
E: Chocolate or vanilla?
E: Beach or woods?
K: Beach. I wouldn’t have said beach until a few years ago and I guess I’m like in touch enough with myself to know how I feel when I sit down at the beach. I know it makes me feel relaxed, in touch with something big.
E: Favorite season?
E: Is there anything I should have asked you that I didn’t?
K: Don’t worry if you startle me, I’m not going to judo-throw you. I’ve had lots of people think that about me, like our former director.
Since the library is currently closed for patron browsing, you’ll most likely catch Kelly via phone when she’s working the curbside room, or via email if you have an account problem, but remember, she won’t be mean and she won’t judo-throw you through the computer. Be sure to look for new CDs every week and if you have suggestions for that collection, you can always email her at email@example.com. And when things are able to open back up again, whenever that will be, you must check out Kelly’s Chocolate Stout Cupcakes that she makes every year for the Bake Sale.