Biography Section

Kelly Bennett

Kelly Bennett

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. 

E: Why?
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. 

E: Where?
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? 
K: Chocolate. 

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? 
K: Summer.

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 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. 

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More Than Just Books

We are upgrading to a new website, soon. So, this will potentially be the last post of this blog. We want to thank you for reading!!!

When the library is reopened and services recommence, you can rest assured that your reading needs will still be met, and that our staff will continue to find creative ways to keep our community connected. Library staff across the country, and even the world, have been saying for years that “…we’re more than just books.And that’s true, of course! 


In fact, “we’re more than just books” is the underlying sentiment woven into every effort that we put in to promoting services and programs that are otherwise auxiliary to the shelves with printed, bound pages organized in alphabetic order or classified by subjects. The gravity of saying that we’re “more than books,” which was heretofore probably interpreted as a cosmetic PR slogan, can and will be demonstrated substantially, more substantially than ever, by libraries everywhere in the year ahead. 

The library can, should, and hopefully always has been more than books, and instead more about making an impression, broadening perspectives, enhancing lives, creating opportunities for connections, and nurturing a lifelong love for reading and learning. We hope that what you take home with you from the library that is more than a book, and instead, a memory… Or, a new perspective. We strive each year to cultivate the prospects for creating a cherished memory–of the time you spent here.

If not a memory, maybe it’s an insight, whether it’s gained from something that was fun and educational through a program we hosted, a storytime led by librarians, a lecture, or community conversation led by an artist, a specialist, an author, or a local politician. Or, maybe it was a new skill you learned from a hands-on crafting event or perhaps an online training course. 

In the time leading up to this world-changing moment in history, we had already focused on our ability to host compelling, fun, and educational events here inside the library, for a live audience. But that doesn’t go away–it’s just that we’ll get creative and go ‘virtual’ for a little while…We’ll be facilitating video versions of our programming in the months ahead, delivering to you the same quality of compelling topics, presenters, crafts, and storytimes that would have otherwise been featured at events hosted inside the library as in-person gatherings. 

The modern library is not fundamentally limited to being defined by a physical collection of books. The modern library is its staff, its patrons, and it is its community. Every staff member of your Ferndale Library appreciates how foundational it is for us to be delivering a dynamic spectrum of services to the people of our city, be it through digital content, online databases, the tried-and-true knowledge-base and research of our Reference Librarians, the early literacy development of our Youth Services, the congenial/helpful Circulation Specialists, and all of the inventive topics and content of our programming.

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Staff Selections Available via #hoopla

What do Katherine Hepburn, George Carlin, Millie Perkins, Christian Campbell and Domnhall Gleeson have in common?
They all share librarian Ed Burns’ May 12th birth date. Welcome to a new series where staff select recommendations available to you on hoopla digital! Check out some films from Ed’s #Birthday Buddies Collection with your Ferndale Library card.
Copy of Copy of digital picks
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Staff Curated Hoopla Collections

This week, Youth Librarian Miss Elissa is sharing some of her picks for adult non-fiction. She’s got a diverse selection of audiobooks to choose from, right here:

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img_20190401_133448_075The Ferndale Library founded its own Art and Exhibitions Committee eight years ago, with the mission of promoting and fostering an appreciation of two and three-dimensional art for library patrons. We wanted to also give our local artists an opportunity to reach a new artist, through the exhibition of their works, along with artists talks, and an expanded collection of art books.

That being said, the recent and ongoing global pandemic has altered the operations of (not just literally everyone) but also Art Galleries. And, to an extent, the programs and events centered around the featured works of local artists did evoke a sense of the library becoming a sort of community art gallery. But, just like galleries across the world, all of our previously scheduled shows are postponed indefinitely. If you, however, were unaware that the library had in fact had an ongoing arts program, we’d encourage you to stay tuned for updates of upcoming works that will be on display in our vestibule.

In the meantime, here are a few images showing works of local artists on display over the last year or so.


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Reading Recommendations for Memorial Day

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Memorial Day by Vince Flynn (audiobook): Fearless counterterrorism operative Mitch Rapp is called upon to fight against the world’s most deadly terrorists in this harrowing political thriller by New York Times bestselling author Vince Flynn.

A Man Named Pearl, directed by Scott Galloway and Brent Pierson (film): A MAN NAMED PEARL tells the inspiring story of self-taught topiary artist Pearl Fryar, the whose unlikely journey to national prominence began with a bigoted remark.

Stars and Stripes Forever by John Philip Sousa (music): Hail the Spirit of Liberty with this classic marching band composer.

War of the Worlds by H.G. Wells (audiobook):  One of the most widely-read and influential science-fiction novels, The War of the Worlds touches on interplanetary travel, evolutionary theory, British imperialism, and the fears and prejudices of Victorian times.

Ms. Marvel v. 1 – No Normal, Marvel Comics (graphic novel): Kamala Khan is an ordinary girl from Jersey City – until she is suddenly empowered with extraordinary gifts. But who truly is the all-new Ms. Marvel? Teenager? Muslim? Inhuman? Find out as she takes the Marvel Universe by storm!

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Reading Recommendations for Mother’s Day

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We’ve got a list made by our librarians that’s perfect for all of our local Mom’s on their special day (coming up this Sunday, May 10).

1. Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston: The mom is this book is The President of the United States, from Texas, and her son falls in love with a Prince. What happens when America’s First Son falls in love with the Prince of Wales? Available as an ebook via Libby.

2. Always Home: A Daughter’s Recipes & Stories by Fanger Singer, foreward by Alice Waters, This is a memoir by Alice Waters’ daughter Fanny Singer about growing up when your mom is Alice Waters chef of Chez Panisse in San Francisco. A cookbook and culinary memoir about growing up as the daughter of revered chef/restaurateur Alice Waters: a story of food, family, and the need for beauty in all aspects of life. Available as an ebook via Libby.

3. The Cactus by Sarah Haywood This book is about a woman who loses her mom and then finds out she is unexpectedly going to become a mother herself. Recommended for fans of Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine. Also, a Reese Witherspoon Hello Sunshine book club choice. Available as an ebook via hoopla.

4. Founding mothers: the women who raised our nation by Cokie Roberts (ebook on Libby and audiobook on hoopla): An intimate look at the passionate women whose tireless pursuits on behalf of their families and country proved just as crucial to the forging of a new nation as the rebellion that established it….

5. The perfect mother by Aimee Molley (audiobook found in hoopla, ebook in Libby): An addictive psychological thriller about a group of women whose lives become unexpectedly connected when one of their newborns goes missing.

6. The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan (ebook in Libby): Contains sixteen interwoven stories about conflicts between Chinese immigrant mothers and their American-raised daughters.

7. The matriarch: Barbara Bush and the making of an American dynasty by Susan Page (audiobook on Libby): A vivid, immersive biography of former First Lady and Bush clan matriarch Barbara Bush, one of the most storied women in American political history. Barbara Pierce Bush — political powerhouse, Bush family matriarch, former First Lady, and celebrated public servant.


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Teacher Appreciation Week

We want to thank teachers and educators everywhere for expanding our minds! Thank you for your patience, mentorship, and creativity.

Here are some digital reading recommendations in honor of teachers that you can download this week, using your Ferndale Library Card. Find ebook & e-audiobook databases like Libby & Hoopla, here:

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Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom (ebook and audiobook through Libby): Maybe it was a grandparent, or a teacher, or a colleague. Someone older, patient and wise, who understood you when you were young and searching, helped you see the world as a more profound place, gave you sound advice to help you make your way through it.
Wouldn’t you like to see that person again, ask the bigger questions that still haunt you, receive wisdom for your busy life today the way you once did when you were younger?

The Smartest Kids in the World by Amanda Ripley (audiobook through Hoopla): How do other countries create ‘smarter’ kids? In a handful of nations, virtually all children are learning to make complex arguments and solve problems they’ve never seen before.

A Chance to Make History by Wendy Kopp. (audiobook available through Hoopla): What Works and What Doesn’t in Providing an Excellent Education for All?

Wonder Boys by Michael Chabon. (ebook available through on Hoopla): One lost weekend for a writing professor in Pittsburgh, plummeting through middle age, stuck with an unfinishable manuscript, an estranged wife, a pregnant girlfriend, and a talented but disturbed student.

Rocket Boys by Homer Hickman. (ebook available through Hoopla): Looking back after a distinguished NASA career that fulfilled his boyhood ambition, Hickam shares the story of his youth, taking listeners into the life of the little mining town and the boys who came to embody both its tensions and its dreams.

Hannah’s War by Jan Eliasberg. (audiobook is available in Libby: A “mesmerizing” re-imagination of the final months of World War II (Kate Quinn, author of The Alice Network), Hannah’s War is an unforgettable love story about an exceptional woman and the dangerous power of her greatest discovery.

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Digital Reading Recommendations

…in honor of National Hospital Week, celebrating hospitals, health systems, and the women and men who support the health and well-being of their communities

digital picks
1. The Great Believers by Rebecca Makkai (ebook & eaudio available through Libby): A dazzling new novel of friendship and redemption in the face of tragedy and loss set in 1980s Chicago and contemporary Paris.

2. An Elegant Defense: The Extraordinary New Science of the Immune System A Tale in 4 Lives (ebook & eaudio available through Libby): A magnificently reported and soulfully crafted exploration of the human immune system–the key to health and wellness, life and death.

3. 5 Feet Apart by Rachel Lippincott (Young Adult ebook available through Libby): Two teens fall in love with just one minor complication—they can’t get within a few feet of each other without risking their lives. Can you love someone you can never touch?

4. The Pandemic Century by Mark Honigsbaum (audiobook through Hoopla): Ever since the 1918 Spanish influenza pandemic, scientists have dreamed of preventing catastrophic outbreaks of infectious disease.

5. Gifted Hands by Ben Carson, MD (ebook through Libby, ebook, audio, and kids edition available through Hoopla): This inspiring autobiography takes you into the operating room to witness surgeries that made headlines around the world — and into the private mind of a compassionate, God-fearing physician who lives to help others.

6. The Economist, April 18, 2020 issue, p.16, Survivors as Saviors (RBdigital): How antibodies from recovered patients and biotech companies could help.

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National Library Week

While the library has remained closed since March 13, following state and federal guidelines, we still wanted to share some quotes from staff. Some shared their thoughts on why they decided to become librarians, while others are expressing what they love most about the job.

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I love working with the public and connecting people with resources they may not have known that they had access to.. I love that because all libraries share a common goal, there's very little competition and i (8)I love working with the public and connecting people with resources they may not have known that they had access to.. I love that because all libraries share a common goal, there's very little competition and i (7)

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