Welcome to a new feature where, each month, we get to know a staff member at the Ferndale Library. Youth Services Librarian Elissa Zimmer will be conducting fun interviews where staff can share a bit about themselves and their role here at the library.
Jeff works as a Circulation Specialist at FADL. He started off working as a Page for 2 ½ years and has been working at FADL for 8 ½ overall! When he’s not here, he’s a freelance writer for the Detroit Free Press, Metro Times, and Ann Arbor Current.
What do you love about working at FADL?
I love seeing people come in and realize that this is a place that is more than just a building with books. I love seeing that moment when they realize it’s more like a community center than anything else. And I love the opportunity to work in a building that has such a variety of events that appeal to a variety of people. Hosting not just book- or author-related events. I appreciate how the circ staff are equally as enthusiastic about that.
Best or favorite part of your job?
Specifically at Circ, I love it when people realize how much they can find in a library. How much they have access to when I hand them their library card, like museums or parks or e-books, so much more.
What is most misunderstood aspect of your job?/What do people get wrong about your job?
They think that all I’m doing is standing at a desk checking books out. I’m a library marketer or publicist off the desk. I’m also a writer so I love being able to leave the desk and use my skills as a writer for the promotion of the library.
Favorite collection or thing we circulate at FADL?
Anything in the music section…the adult non-fiction music collection. Digitally, I love that you can stream albums through Hoopla . If you don’t want to get Spotify, you can still get your albums’ streaming.
Best book you’ve ever read?/Best Album you’ve ever listened to? ^
My favorite book of all time is this obscure magical realism book by a Canadian author, Michael Crummey, and the book is called Galore. Favorite album of all time, let’s say Talking Heads Remain in Light. No…! Television’s Marquee Moon. Both of those albums! I’m taking them both!
Best show you’ve been to?
There are two-last year at Jazz Fest I saw Kamasi Washington. Just blew my mind.
And then about 10 years ago I saw The Flaming Lips and Sonic Youth at the Fillmore and it was a delight.
What do you love about Ferndale as a community?
I like that there’s a sense of pride here. We’re all aware and appreciate how special of a city this, we’re all ready to support that, embrace that, and it’s a very progressive community where you can be yourself. If you want to be bizarre (#FerndaleNormal) then it’s accepted and I love that. It’s got soul. Which you don’t find everywhere.
How do you spend your days off?
Writing! Cus I’m a freelance music journalist. That also means listening to music. A lot of bike riding and movie watching cus I’m also a movie buff.
I have this one sweet black kitty named Matilda. She just turned 10. She was born in a barn and I adopted her when she was two months old. Oh! And a goldfish. My goldfish is four year old. Her name is Ronin.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
The importance of being present (from a musician). This guy was talking about the value of being present and how it changed his life. Also my parents telling me not to sweat the small stuff. I’ve always been an anxious person so I needed someone to tell me to relax! Some people radiate that out into the world and somehow, I’m an optimist for everyone else. I think that comes from being a reporter on the culture scene and seeing so many artists manifesting their vision into a work of art. So I want to cheer everyone on.
If you were stuck on an island, what three things would you take with you?
Presuming this island isn’t entirely sand, I’m bringing my bike. I would like to bring a typewriter, and a tent. And then I’ll be set.
If I gave you $100, what would you spend it on?
Right now…fixing my typewriter. It’s antique and all busted up.
Favorite song to sing at karaoke?
A real good one is Simple Minds’ Don’t You Forget About Me. But maybe also David Bowie’s Modern Love.
Best book-to-movie adaptation?
Chocolate or vanilla?
Vanilla. (Elissa: “…Controversial!”)
Beach or woods?
Is there anything I didn’t ask that I should have?
I have a compulsion to make really bad jokes. But bad jokes are often the answer to a question nobody asked!
You can find Jeff at the front Circulation Desk at FADL often making bad puns and purposefully bad jokes (they also appear in writing and Gifs and staff emails). Jeff writes for Detroit Free Press, Ann Arbor Current, Detroit Metro Times, Ferndale Friends. He has a blog you can read and say hi at deepcutzmusic.blogspot.com.
As part of the Biography Section, we invite other staff members to give their kudos to Jeff. Here is what they had to say:
Kelly: Jeff and I have a joint presentation coming up in October at the Michigan Library Association Annual Conference. Jeff really fleshed out the slides and notes while I was on vacation. It was something I was super stressed about, so when I came back to a really solid first draft, I felt so relieved!
Jasmine: How has he helped you? I think a more suitable question is how hasn’t he helped me?! Jeff is very approachable, and always, always willing to help. He has a plethora of ideas and is never afraid to try something new. I love his energy, I love how he goes along with the flow. What makes him a great co-worker? He’s a team player. He will stop what he’s doing to come and help me. His helpfulness and patience are very meaningful. It never comes across that he’s unwilling to roll up his sleeves, and get dirty. He loves what he does, and it shows.
Kerrie: I love his enthusiasm, great attitude, and sense of humor. Work-wise, he’s always willing to cover the desk. He writes great press releases and does an awesome job on social media and with keeping BookFaceFriday alive.
Darlene: “Jeff’s willingness to jump in feet first makes him such an asset on projects! This has been a very busy summer and Jeff seamlessly took over a program for me. Before I realized he was handling all of it and I couldn’t have been more grateful!”