The Biography Section

00100lportrait_00100_burst20190118141933223_cover (1)Susan Paley

Susan is an Adult Reference librarian who is the go-to person for our digital collections (OverDrive, Libby, etc.). She also orders for the travel section, audiobooks, and mysteries. She has been learning French for several years and enjoys travelling but especially trips to France. Susan has worked at FADL for 8 years!

What do you love about working at FADL?
Diversity of the community, the patron interactions–working one-on-one with patrons and all sorts of ways, the staff’s ability to work well as a team, being a (section) selector allows me to create a varied collection that reflects the people of Ferndale and what the community is about.

Best or favorite part of your job?
I like working with the public, I think it’s fun to pick out new items for collection. I’m naturally curious so I like to tackle reference questions and it’s different everyday. I like the variety of having a different challenge everyday depending on what people need. It could be a book, it could be finding a resource for someone, could be teaching someone something on the computer or one of our digital services.  

What is most misunderstood aspect of your job?/What do people get wrong about your job?
They think that it’s easy. It’s not easy. It takes a lot of thought, effort, and you have to be comfortable dealing with the public. And we don’t sit around and read all day! We see a lot of material we could read all day, but we have to be present to answer questions and help people on the job.

Favorite collection or thing we circ at FADL?
The Travel section because I’ve improved that from what it was. I also like the YA collection because I used to do it when I first started here.

Best book you’ve ever read?
All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr. It’s beautifully written. It’s about two teenagers during WWII and part of it takes place in France and part in Germany.

What do you love about Ferndale as a community/city?
I like that the staff and our collections are really representative of what the public library can be for a community. Like I said before, I like that’s there’s diversity here–it’s easy to be different here. The LGBT community is vibrant. I like how Ferndale has a sense of social justice, how there’s a consciousness to be eco-friendly and to care about the environment. Ferndale is very accepting, which adds a sense of comfort for people of all backgrounds.

How do you spend your days off?
I like to go to the Y and work out, I study French, I like to read, and I go to the movies.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
Take all the information you have, and make the best decision for yourself. Get the most out of every experience possible.

If you were stuck on an island, what would you take with you?
It depends on where the island is. If it’s a tropical island, I’d bring some books, sunscreen, a tent  and my French dictionary. If it’s a freezing cold island, I need a warm coat and a sled dog (but I would probably still have some books and my French dictionary)

If I gave you $100, what would you spend it on?
Dinner and a movie with my family.

Top three bands, musicians, or movies?
Maroon 5
Lady Gaga
Rust and Bone (a French movie available in our collection)

Best book-to-movie adaptation?
Devil Wears Prada – one of the only movies where I think the movie was better than the book!

Chocolate or vanilla?

Beach or woods?

Favorite season?

What don’t we know about you that we should?
My birthday is the same day as Harry Potter’s!

You can find Susan working the Adult Reference desk or in the stacks working with her collections. Stop by and hello or bonjour en Français. Or stop and get a great tutorial on how to use one of our digital services (it’s helpful to bring your device!).


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

Michelle: Susan is a personable and resourceful librarian. I am always impressed with the in-depth one-on-one reference help she gives. Whether it is helping a patron with Hoopla or Libby on their tablet, proctoring exams, or just chatting in French, Susan adds brightness and care to every interaction she has.

Kerrie: Susan is our resident Apple techie, as well as the go-to person I refer patrons to if they need help with our online services, as she’s very proficient with all of them. I often have patrons coming up to me telling me how great a help she was, too. She’s also always willing to lend a hand whenever anyone needs help.  

Jasmine: Susan is extremely gracious and thorough. Her attention to detail and diversity, led her to mostly build and successfully maintain our YA collection. She built this collection with such care and passion. When the time came for me to inherit the collection, I was excited but keenly aware of the daunting task looming ahead of me to not drop the bar. Yet, she was patient in explaining her collection development process with me, and still remains open to my questions months later. It always warms my heart, when she comes to me to give me a thumbs up on the current collection. Her continued support is very humbling to say the least.

Ed: I can take credit for hiring Susan, and it was one of my better managerial decisions.  She has been a real asset from the beginning. Early on we bounced her back and forth between the Adult Reference and the Youth Service desks, which she handled with aplomb. Periodically we’ve given her a new section to manage.  She always enjoys the new challenge and makes great selections. Susan is well read, and I’m continually impressed by the helpful resources she knows about.

Kathleen: Susan is so polite and kind to the patrons, and at the same time, she is very strong and will stand up for herself if someone steps over the line of what she feels is right!

Jeff: Susan does an excellent job curating two very distinct collections: Mysteries for lovers of suspense and whodunnits, and then the Travel section, where she’s added comprehensive guides to destinations all over the world!

Aby: Susan is a great librarian and always super helpful. Whenever a patron needs help she is always going all out to meet their needs. She also take a personal interest in her coworkers and when I first started here she was welcoming and is always very patient and helpful. She is also a fellow Slytherin and we Slytherins are the best.

Darlene: When I think of Susan, I think of the quote from Shakespeare (which I had to look up and which I didn’t know was actually Shakespeare) “Though she be but little, she is fierce.” When it comes to nonsense from patrons or a difficult task, or when she can just tell I’m stressed out, Susan is always willing to sass someone, take on a difficult project, or simply take on more desk time to give me a break when I need it. She’s little but she’s got a lot of heart and a lot of passion.


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