Chris started here as a Circulation sub and is now a permanent part-time member of staff. He came to us from work in other libraries in the area and has been here since May 2019. He processes our periodicals (magazines and newspapers) and our brand new video game collection (including VR stuff!). He recently dyed his hair bright red, so you can’t miss him in the building or at curbside!
Elissa: What do you love about working at FADL?
Chris: I’ve always found working at libraries is very rewarding for me. I like the opportunity to provide a public service–accessibility to the arts. Specifically here, I like that the staff is always encouraged to find their own niche. It’s a welcoming atmosphere that lets people find things to do!
Elissa: Best or favorite part of your job?
Chris: Before the pandemic I really liked doing the DVD displays because it was cool to share my favorite movies and to work in other collections like soundtracks and books that were adapted into movies. It was neat to see patrons stop and interact with the displays. These days, the same aspects of the job that have always drawn me: being able to help the public find cool things to fill their time with.
Elissa: What is the most misunderstood aspect of your job?/What do people get wrong about your job?
Chris: I think people can sometimes fall into thinking that everyone at a desk is a librarian. I don’t have those skills. It takes a lot of people to keep the wheels spinning. I think people would be surprised that it takes a lot of roles to keep a library functioning: pages who get the books on the shelf, building monitors to make sure we’re all following the rules.
Elissa: How do you see libraries adapting to the current situation? What do you like about what libraries are offering?
Chris: Adaptability and resilience of the system through the whole pandemic has been encouraging. Pretty much everyone is floundering and figuring out what to do with their business or job, but from my perspective libraries got it together pretty quickly with curbside and other services. And being able to shout out our digital stuff more.
Elissa: What’s your favorite digital resource we offer?
Chris: I don’t use them very much. I respect eBooks but I’m more of a print kind of a guy. I have found some cool comics on Hoopla, they definitely have some quality stuff. If I’m talking comics, I’m always going to go back to The Sandman series by Neil Gaiman.
Elissa: Best book you’ve ever read?
Chris: I’m terrible at picking favorites. I guess I’d probably The Nature of Things by Lucretius. This really big work of poetry that was written to demonstrate epicureanism. It’s about an ancient Roman talking about atomic theory. Epicurus was, like a lot of thinkers of his time, but philosopher is a broad word. Plato and Aristotle were doing a lot of things with math and science and telling us how we should live our life–so it was all tied together for them. So for Epicurus, when atomic theory was emerging as a big school of thought, he took that concept and looked at the universe through that lens and tried to see what that said about human experience. And I could easily go into a rabbit hole discussing it. The way of looking at the world and science can affect how you look at yourself and others. It can make you feel small and also like part of something large. I’ve read The Nature of Things all the way through twice. But it’s divided into six parts so I’ve read some parts more than that. He gets more into physical science towards the end of the book, but I appreciate more the philosophical, which is at the beginning.
Elissa: What do you love about Ferndale as a community/city?
Chris: I don’t live in Ferndale but I do always enjoy coming here. I love the inclusive attitude that’s at the core of the City’s spirit. Coming through here in June when everyone has Pride flags up, including churches, is great. I like the creative attitude that permeates things. It allows a lot of cool stuff to flourish.
Elissa: What have you been doing to stay occupied during quarantine? Anything from the collection been getting you through?
Chris: Mostly just lots of movie marathons with my boyfriend. If I’m not doing that, I’m playing games. I got a VR headset so I’ve been playing with that. Otherwise the usual, checking out new music, which our collection helps out with. Playing the piano badly, writing stories.
Elissa: What do you miss most about “regular” life? What are you looking forward to doing again once it’s safe?
Chris: I miss the peace that we took for granted. The state of the world has always been far from perfect and likely always will be. There’s just a palpable anxiety around everything these days. I’m looking forward to seeing my family, to go out in public, etc. without that weight on my shoulders. I’m looking forward to a better “regular” that results from all of this.
Elissa: Any pets?
Chris: Sadly no. I grew up always having a lot, but haven’t had the means right now since I’m renting. But I’d love to have a cat or a dog around again. Or both.
Elissa: Are you a cat or dog person? You must decide.
Chris: They have different appeals. I think cats are–I think I relate better to cats but I think dogs make me feel better. I don’t think you can force a decision from me.
Elissa: What’s the best advice you ever received?
Chris: It’s a song lyric so technically not advice. It’s something that’s stuck with me: “I know that I can’t be the cure to what ails you/But know that I stand beneath if that cure should fail you.” It’s from a band called Small Wonder. I just like it because you can’t fix people’s problems most of the time but you can be there at least.
Elissa: If you were stuck on an island, what would you take with you?
Chris: Insulin, a satellite phone, and a survivor guidebook. I’m not trying to be on an island forever.
Elissa: If I gave you $100, what would you spend it on?
Chris: I’d probably save it for one of the bandcamp Friday events, when all the purchases go directly to the artists because touring musicians are really struggling.
Elissa: Top three bands?
Chris: I’m always changing my list but I guess three reliables would be: Modest Mouse, Garbage, and Marina and the Diamonds. (We own some albums from all of these groups in the FADL collection.)
Elissa: Favorite song to sing at karaoke?
Chris: “Bohemian Rhapsody” is the classic. You can’t worry about being good if you’re doing opera.
Elissa: Chocolate or vanilla?
Elissa: Rollercoaster or merry-go-round?
Chris: I guess merry-go-round.
Chris: Would ferris wheel change your mind?
Elissa: I would probably choose that one then.
Elissa: Beach or woods?
Elissa: Favorite season?
You can catch Chris when he’s on curbside duty (remember, you can’t miss the hair). If you have video game suggestions, he’s open to them. firstname.lastname@example.org Say hi next time you’re around the curbside table!
As part of the Biography Section, we invite other staff members to give their kudos to Chris. Here is what they had to say:
Ed: Chris has given me some good suggestions for additions to our film collection. He was doing bang up job of putting together displays. I like working the curb with him because he has such a calm demeanor.
Marigold: Chris is so quiet and efficient. He’s always working on something, whether it’s curbside or the list. He also has absolutely incredible hair!
Jenny: Chris is funny, original, hard-working, and unflappable. He is always looking for more things to do and has great ideas. I appreciate that he’s able to give input and share procedures from also working at the Royal Oak library. Thank you Chris!
Kerrie: I appreciate Chris’ willingness to jump into any task, and he always asks if I need help with the delivery. He’s a quick learner and did very well processing the new video game collection. Currently missing his creative displays.
Tricia: I loved seeing the displays that Chris would put together, especially the holiday “present” display. I remember Jordan talking about how one young family unwittingly took home his non-family-friendly selection. I rarely worked with Chris, even before Covid changed the schedules so drastically, but I really appreciate that he is so diligent and committed to being great at what he does.
Jeff: Chris dives in and gets to work! And does exceptional work! He took on the movie displays = exceptionally! And has transitioned those curations into virtual iterations. He also picked up the Video Games & Magazine processing in a snap. All with just an affable and positive manner–always glad to see him at work & glad to have him on the team at FADL.
Kelly: Chris is chill in a way that I think calms everyone around him. He pays attention, asks questions, and does his best to get things right. He’s taken on a few projects that I don’t have time for but that are vital to making this library and the whole library system a more ordered place. I’m grateful for his presence!
Darlene: Chris has a great way with patrons. I’m often impressed when I hear him interacting with patron’s at the circulation desk. He’s calm, cool, collected, and eager to solve programs and answer questions. I also enjoy his movie displays!
Maggie: A considerate colleague who is detail-oriented in his job, Chris is a pleasure to work with and generally, just a really nice person.
Kathleen: I agree with Marigold that Chris has great hair! I am also very happy he took over processing the magazines from Jeff, and that I finally have gotten to see him the few times since returning to work that our schedules overlapped. It was great to work with Jeff on magazines as long as we did, and I look forward to enjoying it now with Chris.
Michelle: I always enjoy working curbside with Chris. He has a fantastic, dry sense of humor. He’s also meticulous in his work and has a great manner with the public.
Susan: I enjoy working with Chris. He’s jumped in to help if I need to find something while patrons are on the phone or while pulling the send list, and he is always calm with whatever he’s doing. We’ve even talked a little about learning French.
Jordan: The more I get to know Chris the more I like him. He’s thoughtful, in every sense of the word.
Jasmine: I have also thoroughly enjoyed the displays that Chris has done, especially the Groundhog Day one! His hair is pretty amazing, but it’s this one act of kindness, in particular, that I hope to always remember. I was having car trouble and needed to have my car towed from the parking lot. Unfortunately, the way my car was parked made it a challenge for the tow driver to get it on the truck. He needed some assistance. I didn’t know what to do, but the driver asked me if I was willing to ask one of my co-workers to help. I asked Chris, preparing myself to hear him say no, but he said yes. He was so very gracious about the whole thing, and came out to help push my car onto the tow truck. Chris is very much a gentleman.