Welcome to another installment of our monthly series, “The Biography Section,” where Youth Services Librarian Ms. Elissa sits down with one member of the Ferndale Library Staff and asks them a set of questions. There’s a few new questions every month, but there are a recurring set of queries that serve as a way for you to get to know everyone who works here.
This month, we’re talking to Gabrielle “Gabby” Bray
Gabby has worked at FADL as a Library Page for five years. She is a talented musician who plays the violin, viola, a little bit of piano, and she is a member of the Detroit Medical Orchestra. She has a passion for tea and squirrels and is known for being a helping hand around the library in many things beyond shelving books.
What do you love about working at FADL? \
Everything! In particular, I love how active the library is in the community and how it reflects Ferndale. I love how dedicated the librarians are to making sure that the library continues to offer services to everyone and interesting programming. I’m just glad I can help out with that, in whatever ways are needed.
Best or favorite part of your job?
As a Page, I get to know the collection almost on a personal basis. I get to see everything that’s circulating and discover things that aren’t. It’s a good way to explore and find new reading material.
What is the most misunderstood aspect of your job?/What do people get wrong about your job?
I don’t get to read a lot when I’m at work. When I tell people that I work in a library, that’s what they assume I do. I do read a lot outside of work though!
Favorite collection or thing we circ at FADL?
I have a weak spot for the classical music CD collection. I think we have a good collection. We have a big CD collection, that’s just one particular section I enjoy shelving.
What do you love about Ferndale as a community/city?
I love the downtown here, how walkable it is. There’s a unique collection of businesses. I love that it’s open-minded and progressive. You can’t walk down the street without seeing a rainbow flag, at least one. I like that it’s a city that values its public institutions, like its parks and the library.
How do you spend your days off?
I drink a lot of tea! I enjoying sleeping in. I read a lot, I like walking around for exercise and for recreation, around Ferndale or Royal Oak. I hang out at the library even if I’m not working because it’s a good place to spend time as a patron. And we have cozy chairs!
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
This reminds me I should email a connection I made recently! When I was a music student at age 12, my teacher said I should pick up a second instrument, which is how I came to play viola. I played violin first.
When did you start playing an instrument?
I was 7 and my grandparents got me a violin for my birthday. They figured I should probably learn so the gift wasn’t a waste. (Elissa: I guess it wasn’t!)
If you were stuck on an island, what would you take with you?
Electronics are out because there’s no electricity. As much as I can carry? I’m way overthinking this…is there food on the island or do I have to bring that? Tea, books, if I could fit a cat in a bag–that might be cruel, but if I could bring a cat somehow I would.
If I gave you $100, what would you spend it on?
I would put it into savings.
Top three composers?
1.) Steve Reich (Find him in the FADL collection!) 2.) Caroline Shaw 3.) Toru Takemitsu
Best book-to-movie adaptation?
My favorite right now is a movie called Carol which is based on a book called The Price of Salt by Patricia Highsmith. (Both the book and movie are available through the library.)
Chocolate or vanilla?
Vanilla. It’s the subtlety. It goes better with tea to me.
Beach or woods?
You can find Gabby cruising up and down the aisles at FADL or helping out at a program (like our recent Adulting 101 series). She is also frequently out and about in Ferndale, sipping some tea and watching the squirrels. And also talking to them….sometimes.
As part of the Biography Section, we invite other staff members to give their kudos to Gabby. Here is what they had to say:
Kathleen: One day a patron asked me if I knew the shorter page who worked in the afternoon and evening. He told me that page [referring to Gabrielle] was an Angel because she was so wonderful, so helpful, so kind and considerate.
Kerrie: In addition to being super smart and talented, Gabby is also one of the kindest people I know. She’s also always willing to go the extra mile at work, be it helping out in the schools, or volunteering to help with programming and random things. It’s also fun to have someone at work to share cat memes with.
Michelle: Gabby has been an incredible help to me this year. She provides invaluable assistance with the Adulting program, be it serving punch, putting refreshments together, or helping with set-up. She has also been an asset in the elementary library this year: shelving books, catching mis-labeled items, and helping to process new books. Gabby is so pleasant to be around and genuinely one of the most team-oriented people I’ve ever worked with.
Jasmine: Gabby is a great listener, extremely compassionate, and very supportive. Her kindness and sincerity is consistent, and appreciated. She takes the time to bring staff birthday cards directly, even if she’s not on schedule to work. Her thoughtfulness, and friendly disposition go a long way…I couldn’t imagine what the library would be like without her presence.
Susan: Gabby is extremely kind and thoughtful! I especially appreciate it when she waits with me while I am waiting to be picked up. She always has good things to say and brings a calm spirit to the library while doing a thorough job putting away books, setting up for programs, and helping to clear the building at closing.
Darlene: Gabby has been so helpful at our Adulting programs! We literally couldn’t have pulled them off without her!
Jeff: I don’t know anyone else who loves and supports the library, who loves and supports the community of Ferndale, who loves such an array of fine arts, classical arts, contemporary art and local art…as much as Gabby! She’s always reliable and hardworking here at the library, but she also contributes help to events like First Stop Friday.
Kelly: Gabby is always there to lend a hand!