The Evolving Services of the Ferndale Library, 1930-Present


Books, Concerts, Digital Resources and Early Literacy Programs and Beyond

This year marked the 65th anniversary of the Ferndale Library’s grand opening at its current location at 222 E. Nine Mile Rd. Next November will actually be our 90th anniversary: the city established its first library located at the other side of our west parking lot, at 130 E. Nine Mile, (currently the location of Foley & Mansfield Attorneys at Law).

Files on the Ferndale Library, preserved in the collections of the Ferndale Historical Museum, record that the library contained more than 2,000 books for circulation in its first year. Etta Vivian, the head librarian in 1930, issued nearly 1,500 library cards in that first year alone, with the help of just one assistant.

Incorporated into a village in 1918, Ferndale started seeing a boom in population right after it was founded as a city in 1927, eventually deemed “the fastest growing city in the U.S.” [1] A wave of newly hired autoworkers on Henry Ford’s assembly lines in Highland Park settled here, surging population numbers to above 20,000 by the year of the library’s opening. [2] By the end of its first decade, these new citizens had access to more than 10,000 books, and in 1937, a small group of volunteers formed the Friends of the Library, the first group of its kind in Michigan at that time, to support library programs and services.

When the library was moved from the 130 address in 1954 to its current 222 location, on Nine Mile, a collection of young volunteers, including Lincoln High School students, Boy Scouts, Girls Scouts and Campfire Girl Troops, as well as the general public, dutifully carried books and materials to the new state-of-the-art facility, complete with the latest 1950s architecture and Herman Miller designed furniture.

The library went without any major renovations until 1987, when new ceilings and lighting were installed. The next big renovation came in 2007, three years after the City of Ferndale established the library as an independent body with an elected Board of Trustees. A strategic planning process, bolstered by a series of public surveys that showed enthusiasm for increased library services and activities, led to an expansion project of the existing 12,000 sq ft building. City Council approved a Library Improvement Plan in February, 2007, with a groundbreaking in May of that year.

Kevin Deegan-Krause, a former Library Board President at that time, and 2007’s President, Mary Ann Neal, were among many Ferndale residents who advocated for modernizing the library so that it could become an anchor of the downtown as a source of cultural enrichment and universal access to information. A millage to renovate and upgrade the building into a technologically advanced, environmentally-friendly space was voted over 2 to 1 in favor, demonstrating considerable support and excitement for expanded library services.

Letters to the Editors of the Woodward Talk and Daily Tribune found Ferndale resident Judy Arnold encouraging support of the millage, deeming the library, in its former state, to be “dreary, cramped for space, lacking accessibility,” with “inadequate resources” and was “not a reflection of Ferndale’s vibrant, unique, cutting edge community.”

The library was doubled in size, expanding its youth services area, (known as the “Kids Corner”), as well as the computer lab. It would also be a “green space” with high-efficiency geothermal heating/cooling, and an ecologically minded green roof to recycle rainwater. The library was awarded a silver certification in 2012 for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design. The $3.7 million expansion, proclaimed the Ferndale Citizens for a Better Library, was necessary to ameliorate the facilities and assure the city had “a strong, healthy public library,” it being “a vital resource that will add to the quality of life.” Preceding this organized effort in 2007 was the similar “Library Task Force,” which conducted auxiliary surveys back in 1998 that concluded the library to be “a key measure of the health and vitality of a community.”

While expanded hours and more access to computers were among the top desires for expanding the library 12 years ago, the surveys also found continued demand for programs and events. Activities like Storytime and holiday parties for children, as well as family-friendly entertainers, author lectures, art exhibitions, bake sales, musical performances, puppet shows, book clubs and more have been a staple on the library’s yearly calendar of events, going back to its inception in 1930.

By 2010, the Library’s official mission was officially declared to be as a resource that “strengthens the community by providing access to materials and services that inform, enrich, entertain, and empower.” The newly renovated library opened in August 2, of 2010.

Back in 1954, the library’s noble card catalog had 40 drawers, arranged by author, subject and title. In the mid-1990s, the library began using an online catalog, and since 2009, the library has leaped ahead into the 21st century in terms of services. Patrons can now access to eBooks, audiobooks, digital magazines, online databases to scholarly articles, online maps and travel information, self-checkout stations at the youth and circulation desks, expanded Kids Corner with a playspace, and access to Wi-Fi enabling devices.

The library was forced to cut spending on materials, staff and hours in 2012, resulting from the lingering impact of the 2009 recession. In late 2014, the city of Ferndale and the Ferndale School District joined in an effort to “stabilize” the situation “by forming a district library.” [3] This allowed the library to shift from Public Act 164 (in which the city served as the library’s fiscal agent), to the District Library Establishment Act, allowing it to ask voters for an increase beyond 2 mils to fund operations; this also made the library its own independent taxing authority, and applied four-year terms for elected members to its Board of Trustees.

In August of 2016, Ferndale residents went to the polls, with 65% of voters supporting replacing its millage for 10 more years, starting in 2017, thus restoring service hours and boost budgets for materials that had been reduced or cut in 2014. Beyond an increase in materials, the library was able to be open 58 hours a week, with services expanded to all seven days of the week. Jessica Keyser’s last day as Library Director came two weeks after the vote, but she expressed gratitude to The Woodward Talk, assuring that the library is “… now in a position to be very strong and very sustainable into the future…” with staff “working hard to make sure that the city gets a good return on its investment.” [4]

Head Reference Librarian Darlene Hellenberg took over as Interim Director from August 2016 through May of 2017. In the spring of that year, East Lansing-raised Librarian Jenny Marr relocated back to her home state (from a recent position as Director of a library in Kansas), to become the current Ferndale Library Director.  Mrs. Vivian served as its first director from 1930-46, followed by Elizabeth Baker, 1946-52; Roger Walcott, 1952-60; Enid DeTar, 1961-77, Daidee Springer, 1977-84; Mary Trenner, 1984-2006, Douglas Raber 2007-2011, Kate Pohjola, 2011-2012, Jessica Keyser, 2012-2016, Jenny Marr 2017-Present.

Back in 1980, at the 50th anniversary, former Head Librarian Daidee Springer said that this library should be appreciated as “the catalyst for ideas in the Ferndale area.” She added: “Libraries play an important part in the life of the community; all can use them.”

In 2018, the library had an opportunity to refinance the 2008 renovation bond for a lower interest rate. In order to do this, the library needed to purchase the building from the City of Ferndale so that everything would be in the name of the library. This allows the library to save money every year for the remaining 10 years of this bond. Additionally, by owning the building, the library can now make long-range plans and adapt the building as needed to better serve the changing needs of the community.

The library is very active on social media, where patrons can find consistent updates of upcoming events. A monthly calendar is printed on the 15th of each month, available at the Circulation Desk. For more information on programs and services, please visit the library website www.ferndalepubliclibrary.org.

In 2019, serving a community just under 20,000, the library‘s has nearly 73,000 items circulating in its collection. There are 36 public computers accessible throughout the library. Current staff includes 10 full-time and 11 part-time staffers, with six rotating subs; 14 on staff have a Masters in Library and Information Sciences degree. The library is open 7 days a week, 10am-8pm Monday-Thursday, 10am-6pm Friday, and 12pm-5pm on Saturday/Sunday. Unique services include eBook and Audiobook access online, free/discounted passes to Michigan State Parks/museums and cultural destinations through the Michigan Adventure Pass, a loanable wi-fi routers to connect to the internet anywhere, fax and Xerox services, storytimes for children and more. Regular events include live music concerts, art exhibitions, author talks, board game drop-in events, music & movement storytimes for children, and Summer Reading programs.

The Ferndale Library prides itself on being a 21st century Community Center, in that it’s where the community, everyone and anyone, can convene and interact. That means that the library has had some interesting visitors over the years, like a group of caroling joggers during the holidays, an artist who designed full-body mascot suits inviting staff to try them on and become big green friendly monsters, or a full scale marching band (on two different occasions)! There have been magic shows, synthesizers, large Japanese drum ensembles, and even a turkey carving seminar by Ferndale’s own Farm Field Table. Over the past 9 years since its remodeling, whether it’s any of these interesting visitors, or just an exhibiting artist, lecturing author, or performing musician, they all say the same thing: “…what a great space!”


[1] “Ferndale Our City,” undated City of Ferndale publication, now in Ferndale Historical Museum files, cites Floyd Gibbons, “radio speaker and war correspondent,” who mentioned these facts about Ferndale in a June 1930 broadcast nationwide.”

[2] History of the Ferndale Library by Jean Spang, Ferndale Historical Society, March 2006.

[3] ‘Council, school board approve forming Ferndale District Library.’ Joshua Gordon, Woodward Talk. Nov 3, 2014.

[4] ‘Voters pass millages to boost Ferndale Library and school.’ Mike Koury. Woodward Talk. Aug 3, 2016.

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Biography Section

me.pngTekedra Lofton

Tekedra is a Circulation Specialist; a self-described “awesome person,” who you will find working every weekend at FADL at the front desk. She is also an author, whose work appears under the pen name Ophelia Crane. She has two daughters, two cats, and a great attitude that she brings to work every time she’s here! Read on for more info about her writing and her great love: horror movies. 


Elissa: Firstly, congratulations on your recent graduation from library school. What made you decide to take the plunge and get the degree?
Tekedra: I love libraries and I love what they do for our community and I wanted to be part of that. I should have done it straight out of high school! 

Elissa: You’re pursuing archive management–what made you want to go that route?
Tekedra: I always pictured myself being in charge of old, dusty tomes, and being part of preserving the history of a place. And archives is pretty much what that is! And now I’m also studying the digital side of it, which is: old dusty tomes but on a computer! 

Elissa: What do you love about working at FADL? 
Tekedra: What don’t I love about working here? (Laughs.) I love my coworkers, I love the calm, peaceful environment, and I love the patrons. We all seem to be here for a common purpose, and we all seem to want to be here, which is a wonderful change of pace from the other places I’ve worked. 

Elissa: Best or favorite part of your job?
Tekedra: I don’t think I can pick one. Let me think…finding books that are lost. 

Elissa: It’s satisfying.
Tekedra: It’s incredibly satisfying–taps into some reptilian part of my brain like yay, achievement! 

Elissa: What is the most misunderstood aspect of your job?/What do people get wrong about your job? 
Tekedra: The two most common things that I have asked about are: if people actually still go to libraries and if I stand in the corner and sniff books. It’s more than that–it’s about making the community cohesive and [making it] work for everyone. 

Elissa: Favorite collection or thing we circ at FADL? 
Tekedra: The movies, the horror movie collection. I’m a horror movie junkie, so I’m always up in that collection. 

Elissa: Top three horror movies?
Tekedra: Train to Busan (best zombie movie I’ve ever seen), The Exorcist (the original), The Nightmare on Elm Street series (just for fun). [All of these movies are available in our catalog!]

Elissa: Best book you’ve ever read? 
Tekedra: That is a harder question…I’m going to have to go with a Stephen King book but I have to figure out which one is burned into my head forever and ever. The Green Mile. [Also available in our catalog.]

Elissa: You’re also a writer by night, or by whatever time you’re not working at librarianship. What made you start writing? 
Tekedra: I think I was just programmed to. I was telling stories before I could write. I actually owe it to my 5th grade teacher. She saw I was drawing all these pictures that had stories and she taught me to write, staple my papers together into a little book. Shout out to Ms. Fisher wherever you are! 

Elissa: What do you love about Ferndale as a community/city?
Tekedra: Like everything. This place is the nicest, craziest, most eclectic place I’ve ever lived. Everything is so close by, you can go to any of these restaurants and get great food and maybe see a guy dressed as Thor riding on a scooter! 

Elissa: How do you spend your days off?
Tekedra: Outside of school…writing mostly. Or reading, I usually have my nose buried in a book. Or I’m catching up on old TV series. I’m watching Six Feet Under right now. [Also in the collection!]

Elissa: Any pets?
Tekedra: Yes, I have two kitty cats. Isis, who is about 10 or 11. Aries is 3. 

Elissa: What’s the best advice you ever received? 
Tekedra: I’ve carried with me practically my whole life something that didn’t come directly to me. Electrifying Mojo from the radio said, “If you ever feel like you’re at the end of your rope, tie a knot and hold on.”

Elissa: If you were stuck on an island, what would you take with you? 
Tekedra: Pen and paper. 

Elissa: If I gave you $100, what would you spend it on?  
Tekedra: Bills!!! (Laughing.) 

Elissa: Favorite song to sing at karaoke?
Tekedra: “Killer Queen” by Queen. 

Elissa: Chocolate or vanilla?
Tekedra: Chocolate. 

Elissa: Beach or woods? 
Tekedra: Beach. 

Elissa: Favorite season? 
Tekedra: Summer. 

Elissa: Is there anything I should have asked you that I didn’t?
Tekedra: I want people to know that life is beautiful no matter what’s going on with you. If you can see the beauty in it, it’s not so bad. 

You can find Tekedra at the front circulation desk at FADL on any given weekend. You can also read her blog about horror movies at https://iwtfhm.blogspot.com/, which covers all the horror movies found here at FADL! Watch one and let her know what you think next time you’re in! And also grab a book by Ophelia Crane (https://www.opheliacrane.com/) and let her know what you think! Say nice things. 

As part of the Biography Section, we invite other staff members to give their kudos to Tekedra. Here is what they had to say: 

Aby: Tekedra is awesome! She not only loves books but she writes them as well!  I’m always instantly in a better mood when I come into work on the weekends knowing that she’s going to be here as well. Tekedra is like the horror movie queen. If you saw it, chances are that she has too, and if not its going to the top of her to watch list. She can give you the perfect scary movie to watch for just about any occasion. She’s also super sweet and fun as well. I promise there is never a dull day when you work with her. 🙂

Susan: Tekedra always brings a lot of energy and enthusiasm to working on Saturdays!

Kerrie: I unfortunately don’t get to work with Tekedra often, but when I do, she’s a lot of fun. She’s our dependable weekend warrior and is great with patrons. Her work ethic is very admirable as she was working 7 days a week while obtaining her master’s degree! I couldn’t have done it.

Jeff: Tekedra is so reliable, as well as cool/calm/collected. I know the library is in such good hands when she’s here for weekend shifts. Beyond that, she’s an excellent and imaginative writer. Also…, I revel in the substantial conversations we share about the genre of horror. All things horror, really, from books to film, to creepy soundtracks. I appreciate and admire anyone who owns as many horror films as she does in her personal library. 

Jasmine: Tekedra is very multifaceted. Even though she and I have not had many conversations at great length, I can tell there is so much more to her than what meets the eye. An avid reader and devoted mom, I appreciate all her wisdom and knowledge even if I don’t experience it regularly or directly.

Kelly: Tekedra is fun! She’s also always open to listen to whatever crazy thing you have to tell her. I love her movie displays!

Marigold: Tekedra is an incredibly fun person to be around. She’s kind and courteous but also has an amazing sense of humor! I am glad to be her coworker.

Ed: Shortly after Tekedra started working here, she brought in a box of Dutch Girl Donuts.  I’d driven by the shop many times, but had never stopped in. What a delight it was to finally try them.  She also made some good suggestions for horror movies that we didn’t have in our collection. Donuts and horror movies.  Two of my favorite things.

 

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Books for Tweens & Teens That Explore Gender Identity

If you’re looking for book recommendations that discuss and illuminate topics around gender identity, than Youth Librarian Ms. Elissa has a list curated for you…

Fiction for children and young adults has begun to reflect the expanding awareness of gender identity. These stories can be a means of helping kids examine and explore their own social identity; in that way, fiction for young adults can be a way to help them see what is possible and what their future could look like. 

“George” by Alex Gino
George is a trans girl struggling to keep her secret from her family because she fears they will not understand her. George hides her “typical girl” magazines from her mom and brother, and even hides her identity from her best friend Kelly. The story is shaped around the school auditions for the play of Charlotte’s Web. George auditions for the role of Charlotte, and though she doesn’t get it, with the help of Kelly to whom she comes out, she is able to act onstage in a way that is true to who she is. The story ends with George able to go to the zoo with Kelly and dress in a way that reflects who she is. She is able to use her chosen name, Melissa. 

“Felix Yz” by Lisa Bunker
This book, for young adult readers, offers some great lessons on not assuming anyone’s gender and/or pronouns. Felix is a kid who, in a freak accident when he was 3, fused with an alien named Zyx. Zyx exists within Felix and can only communicate by typing through Felix’s fingers. Gender doesn’t exist where Zyx is from, so Felix refers to him as “Vo.” Vo expresses herself as Vera on Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday, dressing in traditionally female clothing, but Thursday, Friday and Saturday, Vo presents as Vern, dressing masculine. On Wednesday, Vo stays in “veir” room and does “veir” own thing. This book gives young readers a different perspective on gender identity, specifically how pronouns work and how they can change. 

“Boy Meets Boy” by David Leviathan
This is one of my favorite YA books: The main character, Paul, goes through a somewhat surreal world where he meets a boy, Noah, whom he begins to date. Adjacent to this main plotline, and sometimes intertwined with it, is character known as Infinite Darlene. “There are few sights grander at eight in the morning than a six-foot-four football player scuttling through the halls in high heels, a red shock wig, and more-than-passable makeup.” Darlene used to be Daryl Heisenberg, but she truly blossomed as Darlene, both star football player and homecoming queen. Infinite Darlene offers big personality and indicates the level of acceptance, the lack of batting any (falsh) lashes over her outward presentation. She just is. Infinite Darlene is one of the many varied tiles on the gender and sexuality spectrum that makes up the world Levithan’s characters inhabit. 

 

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KIDS READ: Picture Books for Young Dog Lovers

Curated by Mr. Jordan, Head Librarian in Youth Services 

Do you have young children at home who love dogs? We’ve got a list of recommended picture books for you:

Librarians are often stereotyped as being “cat-people…” and this generalization is not without some merit.  Some public libraries have even adopted “library cats” to help mind their shelves, (you may have heard of0 Dewey the library cat).  I’m a librarian, but I grew up with dogs, and will always be a dog person. Don’t get me wrong: cat’s are fine…, I’m just allergic. So this week, I’m recommending a few picture books for young children who love dogs as much as I do!

y648“Bark, George!”  by Jules Fieffer

This book is a classic and is one of my favorite books to read aloud.  George’s mother wants him to bark like a dog, but only (other) animal sounds come out!  A hilarious trip to the veterinarian solves the mystery. This one is guaranteed to leave your little one in stitches while they’re mooing, oinking, and quacking along.

 

51mtxZz9-cL._SX258_BO1,204,203,200_“Is There a Dog in this Book?” By Viviane Schwarz

Three paranoid feline narrators encourage young readers to help them find and hide from their new canine housemate in this super fun “lift-the-flap” style book.   But how will the cats feel when our their new roommate actually goes missing?

 

 

 

51uur2V2uyL._AC_SY400_“A Ball for Daisy” by Chris Raschka

This Caldecott Medal Winner has precisely zero words, but don’t let that deter you because the superb watercolors move the story along splendidly.  Daisy’s favorite thing in the world is her big red ball, but when she shares it with another dog it pops! Share this book with your favorite little dog lover and discuss sharing, forgiveness, and even feeling sad (or happy).

 

 

51Ba5+GRnsL._SX258_BO1,204,203,200_“City Dog Country Frog” by Mo WIllems

Mo Willems is best-known for his hilarious picture book series featuring beloved characters such as Elephant & Piggie and the Pigeon.  In City Dog, Country Frog, Willems shows us his serious side in a beautifully illustrated story that will inspire conversations about the seasons, nature, and even our own impermanence.

 

 

41sbq5F8odL._SX258_BO1,204,203,200_“Smick” by Doreen Cronin

Smick (the dog) loves his stick and his friend the baby chick!  The thick lines, high contrast illustrations, simple rhymes, and limited text (1-3 words per page) makes this a great read aloud for even the youngest of (soon-to-be) readers.

 

 

 

Librarian Jordan Wright is the Head of Youth Services for the Ferndale Area District Library. For more information on these books, visit ferndalepubliclibrary.org and click “Search Catalog.”

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What Should I Read Next?

If you loved Celeste Ng’s “Everything I Never Told You” or Jean Kwok’s “Searching for Sylvie Lee…,” then Susan, from our staff of Reference Librarians has recommendations:Picture1

Lisa Ko – The Leavers

Emma Rous – The Au Pair

Lucy Tan – What We Were Promised

Janice Y.K. Lee – The Expatriates

Tatiana de Rosnay – A Secret Kept

Lydia Fitzpatrick – Lights all Night Long

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Kids Read: Pride Month Reading Recommendations for Teens (14+)

If you’re looking for pride month book recommendations for teens, Youth Services Librarian Ms. Jasmine recommends these three…

We all know that lions are the real kings of the jungle. Perhaps that majestic placing in the animal kingdom comes from the strength and cooperation of their Pride. Humans, it seem aren’t so different from lions. When the riots occurred at the Stonewall Inn in Greenwich Village, New York in 1969 it was a Pride of men and women who were fighting for their right to be who they wanted to be and to love who they wanted to love. It was their tenacity that eventually won over legislation and is continually winning over hate, to afford them the liberties of openly being themselves. The books selected for this month’s review offer queer perspectives from diverse points of view, all while showing the grit and courage it takes to be yourself.

“America: The Life and Times of America Chavez” by Gabby Rivera

This graphic novel definitely leaves a lasting impression. Rivera does a great job of interweaving diversity into the graphic. Readers may appreciate some of the Spanish language woven into the dialogue as well as the clear shout out to Sonia Sotomayor. America Chavez attends Sotomayor University, a multiracial school with some of the brightest and strongest among its student body. Something very unique about America is that she was born to two women, and doesn’t have a father. Her mother’s decided to sacrifice themselves, more or less, to protect her. America also happens to be a proudly open queer Latina who seems to fall in and out of love regularly. Just when she thinks she’s all alone, with no familia, a surprise awaits her that sets a sequel.

“Birthday” by Meredith Russo

This is a follow-up to Russo’s first novel (“If I Was Your Girl”) and it definitely delivers. Morgan Gardner and Eric McKinley are celebrating their thirteenth birthday, and Morgan’s firsth birthday since losing his mother to cancer, and if that doesn’t complicate matters enough, Morgan knows that although his gender is male, he feels female. Though he tries to bring himself to tell his best friend Eric about his feelings, he can’t. Growing up in the small-town of Thebes, Tennessee, where males who don’t play football are completely ignored, Morgan oftentimes feels very out of place. Russo’s writing helps readers better understand Morgan’s feelings, which speaks to the author’s own experience of being Trans. The story takes place over the course of five birthdays for the pair with each birthday leading them closer into their identities. Even more impressive is the supporting nature of Morgan’s father, Coach Tyler, who makes a decision to love his child and accept her for who she chooses to be.

 

“Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up With Me” by Mariko Tamaki

Laura Dean is a queer teen who loves to play the field; this doesn’t seem to bother the girls she fancies, except her on-again off-again girlfriend Frederica Riley. Riley is head-over-heels in love with Dean but is growing tired of being dumped by her, and yet she can’t break out of her infatuation towards her. Doodle, Frederica best friend, is growing tired of being blow off for Laura, which at some point is going to cause Frederica to make an important decision. Beyond queer romance this book strikes a chord anyone who appreciates what friendship requires: making sacrifices and taking the time to be available. While it is clear that not everybody supports some of the characters queer lifestyles, there is a village that exists of those who are accepting and dependable, which might encourage readers who are struggling to come out.


For more information, visit ferndalepubliclibrary.org and click “Search Catalog.”

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Biography Section

Cheryll

Cheryll Vaughn

Cheryll is the first face you’ll see when you walk into FADL. Our sole Building Monitor, her job requires her to sit at the station at the front door and greet patrons as they enter. But her job also requires her to be mobile throughout the building, making sure the library is clean, people are getting along and following the rules. With that, Cheryll is known for her kindness, wit, and familiarity with patrons of all ages. 

 

Elissa: What do you love about working at FADL? 
Cheryll: I love the staff. I love the patrons. I love the flexibility of my hours and schedule–I’m able to make up my hours without any issue if I need to attend a doctor’s appointment or if I’m sick. 

Elissa: Best or favorite part of your job? 
Cheryll: The people. 

Elissa: Can you be more specific about the people?
Cheryll: Interacting with the staff AND the people. That’s the joy of my job. Accomplishing what I’m supposed to in a day’s work. That feels pretty good. 

Elissa: Some patrons refer to you as “Mama Cheryll.” How do you look at your job and the way you interact with people to instill such a level of comfort and familiarity with the people we serve?
Cheryll: I approach my job with love. 

Elissa: What is the most misunderstood aspect of your job?/What do people get wrong about your job? 
Cheryll: They think that I’m security. I’m often asked what I do because to see someone sitting in one place, they assume I’m security. This one gentleman the other day said to me, “You’re the concierge, aren’t you?” And I said, “Yeah!” People don’t know the full extent of my job–they think I’m just there to just scold people. But I don’t look at it like that. Sometimes when I’m asked what I do, I just say I’m here to keep everything together. 

Elissa: You’ve worked in a number of library departments over the years–from circulation to technical services and now building monitor. What’s been the highlight of your library career? 
Cheryll: The highlight…was when I was able to use more of my skills that I’ve learned over the years, specifically processing books, working circulation, being more involved with books. I miss that part. 

Elissa: Favorite collection or thing we circ at FADL? 
Cheryll: Probably [adult] fiction and YA fiction.
Elissa: That’s Young Adult, for people who don’t read that genre.

Elissa: What do you love about Ferndale as a community/city?
Cheryll: Oh my god, it is one of the calmest, coolest communities that I’ve ever lived in. I love that fact that there are a variety of people who live here, and that our library caters to the community and their differences. It’s a well-oiled machine here. 

Elissa: How do you spend your days off?
Cheryll: Watching movies, reading, spending time with friends and family. 

Elissa: You’re known on staff to have lived a lot of life and to always have the best perspective because you’ve been there, done that. But it takes time to get to that place, so what’s the best advice someone ever given to you?
Cheryll: Be the best version of me that I can be. 

Elissa: If you were stuck on an island, what would you take with you? 
Cheryll: My children. Shout out to Jalaea and Isaiah! 

Elissa: If I gave you $100, what would you spend it on?  
Cheryll: Books and food.

Elissa: What type of food?
Cheryll: Probably Mexican. 

Elissa: Top three movies?
Cheryll: Claudine, Do the Right Thing, Boyz in Da Hood. (All available in our cooperative.)

Elissa: Favorite song to sing at karaoke? 
Cheryll: “I Will Survive” by Gloria Gaynor

Elissa: Best book-to-movie adaptation?
Cheryll: Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston

Elissa: Chocolate or vanilla?
Cheryll: Chocolate.

Elissa: Beach or woods?
Cheryll: Beach.  

Elissa: Favorite season? 
Cheryll: Summer. 

Since Cheryll is on the move throughout the library, you may find her at her station near the front door or you might find her making her rounds through the building, making sure everything is as it should be. Never be afraid to say hi to Cheryll, as she’s the behind-the-scenes glue that holds the building down–from cleaning on Sundays to vacuuming up spills here and there to giving a hug to patrons of all ages as they come in. Not to mention she holds down the staff, always here for a laugh and to dispense some life perspective. We are grateful to have Cheryll on staff! 

As part of the Biography Section, we invite other staff members to give their kudos to Cheryll. Here is what they had to say: 

Jasmine: Cheryll, Cheryll, Cheryll…where can I begin? She gives it to you straight, and knows something about everything! I enjoy watching her take pride in her job from tidying up the bathrooms on the weekends to cutting up flyers for programs. Cheryll gets the job done, but she will also support library programs. I love that she is willing to stick around after a long day of work, and attend a library program. She’s extremely dedicated, and hilarious! She adds so much flair to her job duties, and the library.

Jordan: Cheryll’s been a great ambassador to our teen patrons and has really taken the time to get to know them and make them feel comfortable at the library.  She’s also always willing to help us cut/fold flyers or to prepare crafts, for which the youth department is very grateful.

Darlene: Cheryll is like everyone’s cool aunt. She’s always down for some impromptu backroom dancing. I always want to borrow all of her shoes and jackets. She also tells it like it is and doesn’t let anyone ruffle her feathers. She’s great with staff and patrons. Easily walking the line between friendly face and disciplinarian. She also always makes sure I have the latest books for the Urban Fiction collection. She’s a great addition to the team. 

Kerrie: Cheryll is very kind and helpful and always willing to lend a hand when it comes to setting up for programs and cleaning up gross messes (there have been some doozies). She also has a great rapport with children and teens- I’ve definitely noticed an improvement in teen behavior last school year. 

Amber: Cheryll is like the fun auntie of the group! She has a way of making everyone feel like family or an old friend. I always look forward to working with her because she makes me laugh and is so easy to be around. You can count on her to help out with any and everything around the library, whether it’s monitoring the building, setting up for an event, shelving holds, maintenance, or helping patrons. So happy to have her on our team!

Jeff: I just love how in tune Cheryll is with everything that’s going on in this library; there’s three service desks and so many areas where we can arrange flyers, and everything is always up to date and perfectly arranged. She’s also in tune with just the overall vibe of this library, this community, and everyone who works here with her. She’s always a delight to work with and brings so much enthusiasm for the all the goodness libraries can provide and achieve for their communities. Also, she encourages the occasional dance-party, whenever possible. 

Susan: Cheryll is always super helpful around the building, whether she’s at the front door greeting patrons, walking around the building to keep it a peaceful place for everyone or breaking out the dustbuster and even beautifying the courtyard after a recent summer concert.  She’s the go-to person for setting up the community room in a hurry and makes all of our mini flyers. She is very friendly to everyone and makes an effort to talk to us and get to know us.

 

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