Head Librarian of Youth Services
Jordan has been working at FADL for over six years. He started as a volunteer while he was in library school, was hired on as a youth services assistant, progressed to part time librarian, to full time, and is now the Head of Youth Services. What a journey!
Elissa: What do you love about working at FADL?
Jordan: I really like that it’s a downtown library and centrally located. I feel like we’re in the middle of it all and a cornerstone of the community.
Elissa: Best or favorite part of your job?
Jordan: Working with happy kids!
Elissa: You’re known for being the musician on staff. What instruments do you play and how long have you been playing music?
Jordan: I play guitar, bass, drums, and harmonica. I’ve been playing guitar since I was 11 (just shy of 20 years). I’ve picked up the other ones along the way.
Elissa: How many bands have you been in?
Jordan: (Stops to count) Close to 10.
Elissa: What’s been your favorite one to play in?
Jordan: I like playing by myself actually. (JD Wright – you can find this in our collection.)
Elissa: What is most misunderstood aspect of your job?/What do people get wrong about your job?
Jordan: Occasionally I get asked how long I’ve been volunteering for, like people assume that I don’t get paid to be a children’s librarian. People generally don’t understand what we do on a day-to-day basis, we’re like a jack-of-all-trades.
Elissa: Favorite collection or thing we circ at FADL?
Jordan: Books! Adult fiction probably–my favorite genre is literary fiction, if that’s actually a genre.
Elissa: Best book you’ve ever read?
Jordan: I can’t answer that question– My favorite author is Richard Russo. The last book I finished was Conversations with Friends by Sally Rooney and I loved it.
Elissa: What do you love about Ferndale as a community/city?
Jordan: I like that it’s dense, walkable, open-minded, and people seem to care about the place that they live in. They seem invested in it.
Elissa: How do you spend your days off?
Jordan: Reading, exercising, playing music, tinkering around the house, and going to bed early.
Elissa: You’re one of FADL’s resident coffee enthusiasts (caffeine addict) and are seen drinking coffee literally all day long. What’s your favorite brew?
Jordan: I like Starbucks’ Italian Roast. Black, no sugar.
Elissa: Any pets?
Jordan: Jakeman. He’s a 10-year-old mostly Beagle mutt. He’s very nice, but not very smart.
Elissa: What’s the best advice you ever received?
Jordan: Regarding winter coats: You can look cool or you can be warm, pick one.
Elissa: If you were stuck on an island, what would you take with you?
Jordan: I don’t plan on being stuck on an island.
Elissa: If I gave you $100, what would you spend it on?
Jordan: I’m a saver.
Elissa: Top three bands?
Jordan: Tom Petty, The Replacements, and the Weakerthans.
Elissa: Favorite song to sing at karaoke?
Jordan: “Hurts So Good” by John Mellencamp
Elissa: Best book-to-movie adaptation?
Jordan: It’s not quite a movie, but Band of Brothers was really good. I don’t watch a lot of movies.
Elissa: Chocolate or vanilla?
Jordan: For ice cream, vanilla. Chocolate otherwise.
Elissa: Beach or woods?
Elissa: Favorite season?
Elissa: Is there anything I should have asked you that I didn’t?
Jordan: I like going to bed early.
Elissa: You already said that.
Jordan: I want to emphasize it though.
Elissa: How early are we talking?
Jordan: I like to be in bed by 10, asleep by 11 at the latest. I like to shoot for 9 hours a night. Over the past year, I’ve been trying to develop better sleeping habits, so it’s something that’s become really important to me. It makes going to parties kind of hard.
As Jordan mentioned, he is a jack-of-all-trades, so you can catch him at the youth reference desk, around the library playing his guitar for the little ones, or jumping in when there’s an issue with the building (at the time of the interview, Jordan both got up on a book ladder to untie a cord to one of the blinds in the community room AND he also touched up a wall). As a children’s librarian, he’s also frequently seen doing community outreach to schools and other orgs. Say hi and sing along next time you see him!
As part of the Biography Section, we invite other staff members to give their kudos to Jordan. Here is what they had to say:
Jasmine: I love that Jordan is methodical. I can be rather compulsive and I benefit from having a supervisor who doesn’t tend to rush into big-decision making. Jordan is not easily worked up. I don’t find that he excites easily, but I respect him for it because when he does offer his support it’s always timely. It’s been challenging trying to create programs in hopes of increasing teen participation. Though I don’t go to him to complain about it, it has been a hard challenge to overcome. Recently, he shared with me his support over one of my ideas. He shared with me, that he knows what it feels like to reach out to an organization, and not always feel as though I’m receiving back what I am giving, basically. I appreciated his honesty and encouragement because it helped me to realize his expertise in the field, and that even though we don’t tend to talk a lot about it; he gets it, and he cares.
Kelly: Jordan has kept up leading the blinding pace of youth programming. Whenever he has a question for me, he’s very thoughtful in how he asks and I feel like he truly listens when anyone talks to him.
Kathleen: I love that Jordan, being a musician, is able to play an instrument for the little children’s story time. Live music makes such a difference. Jordan is very supportive, and the Children’s staff with him as department head has been creating some very interesting and exciting programs. He sets such an outstanding example for healthy eating too, eating whole sweet peppers like they’re apples!
Kerrie: I’ve always admired that Jordan is very patient in general and keeps his calm during odd/difficult situations. He’s always willing to help out and watch the adult desk, or jump in and help with other tasks. He’s been doing a great job since taking over from our old department head, and summer reading is coming along wonderfully. I don’t know how he’ll have time to do so many programs in June! I also like that he’s adding cool new items to our collection, like the vox books and STEM kits, and beefing up the foreign language books for kids. The level of outreach and he and the rest of the children’s department do with Ferndale schools is also impressive.
Ed: Jordan started out as a volunteer here. It was a happy day when we hired him on. He’s brought a lot of talent, creativity, and kindness to our youth department. I’ve enjoyed watching and being a part of his professional growth.
Jeff: Jordan’s mastered the art of being down to earth with his head in the clouds. What I mean is, he can be so even-keel, ready for anything, and yet he’s always thinking up something new to try, or thinking outside the box. He’s multifaceted…, able to chat with me about dense historical or niche-focused environmental non-fiction books, then transition to music and songwriters we like, then to hockey…, and then he can go out and transition into a total charmer and theatrical sweetheart for the young children at storytimes. I think we became best friends when we both dressed up as blue flying monkeys together for the Wizard of the Oz-themed Halloween Party one year.
Susan: I love seeing how much fun he has with the kids, whether it’s doing a program with them or saying hello as they come into the kids section. You can tell he really likes getting to know all the kids and families. He also does a fantastic job with the children’s nonfiction collection 🙂
Darlene: Jordan is great! He’s a great team player, cheerleader, and go-getter. I’ve enjoyed working with him over the past few years and also watching him grow into a leader. He’s fun to joke around with, chat with about books, and cookies (obviously).
Michelle: Jordan is an unflappable leader. He has introduced innovative new materials (STEM kits & talking books) and programs (1,000 books before Kindergarten & Drag Queen Story Hour) since he became head of the youth department. He is always quietly and smoothly improving things, and is just a cool dude to work with.
Cheryll: Jordan Wright is a well rounded professional that knows how to have fun as well as taking the lead in our Youth Services Department. Jordan also has the ability to make a person feel valued and included. I could go on about Mr. Wright and his fantastically smooth personality but I won’t. Please give a big kudos to Mr. Wright…
P.S. He’s also a great singer and guitar player.
Aby: Jordan is awesome. Funny and super nice. The patrons love him and he’s always helping the parents out. He’s also in a band so tons of cool points on that alone!