SCHENECTADY — Charity Thorne has come full circle.
The Rotterdam native has fond recollections of visiting the Schenectady County Public Library system as a toddler, the place she was captivated throughout story time packages and fell in love with the fantasy style.
Thorne, 34, finally started her profession on the library, working to tidy up objects when she was simply 16 earlier than finally shifting on to the College of Albany, the place she earned a grasp’s of science diploma from library info. After graduating in 2009, Thorne held varied positions at libraries in Florida, Texas and Illinois, the place she served as govt director of La Grange Public Library, simply outdoors of Chicago.
A want to be together with her household drove the mother-of-two to hunt employment on the East Coast earlier this yr, the place she landed a place as Director of Library Operations on the County Public Library System. Schenectady.
After a prolonged interview course of, Thorne was formally appointed to the place by the Schenectady County Legislature earlier this month. She succeeds Karen Bradley, who retired earlier this yr after a decades-long profession within the library system, together with 10 years as director.
“The primary day I began in search of jobs on the East Coast, I noticed this advert and it was very coincidental,” Thorne stated. “It is my hometown library and I can return there in a unique position and are available full circle and be very near my household.”
Simply two weeks into her new place, Thorne stated she was nonetheless getting used to her new position, however already had her eyes set on enhancing entry to library sources, which have elevated significantly since she was a toddler. Thorne just lately spoke with The Day by day Gazette about her profession, library recollections and plans for the long run.
Q: What made you wish to get into library science?
A: It is actually very fascinating. Individuals are likely to assume, “Oh, libraries, you learn books all day. No, you discuss to folks, you work together with folks from all walks of life with all types of data wanted. It is by no means boring. You by no means know who will stroll by way of the door and what you may want to assist them. After which as I went up just a little greater in administration and administration, you must know the services, you must know the IT, you must know the human sources. You do all of that and all of the library-specific stuff, so it is at all times studying one thing new. I do know extra about Dreamtile techniques and HVAC than I ever would have thought going to library college, however for somebody who likes to study, it is a very fascinating discipline. There’s at all times one thing new and libraries are consistently evolving too. Even simply the library-specific stuff, you must consistently study one thing new, particularly throughout the pandemic. Clearly the way in which we serve the general public has fully modified and a part of that’s going to final for the lengthy haul as a result of folks have actually embraced it, and a part of it we’re going again to considerably extra regular operations.
Q: You talked about that among the stuff from the pandemic goes to remain. May you make clear this? What are a few of these issues which might be going to be right here completely sooner or later?
A: I nonetheless could not say that I do know sufficient about this library’s providers in whole to inform, however I am solely speaking about digital packages usually. Earlier than the pandemic, there wasn’t a whole lot of engagement with digital issues, however now it is change into how one can even have hybrid packages the place you may have a presenter right here on the library, however possibly that you just’re broadcasting it stay for folks at residence who cannot come, or possibly you are bodily at full capability on the spot. It was a giant drawback. I do know communities have embraced much more digital referrals. Individuals requested much more questions on-line and on the cellphone fairly than simply coming in and speaking about it after they come to select up their books or no matter else they is likely to be doing. Digital collections have grown and investments in e-books and audio books. I believe lots of people who may need been hesitant to do this earlier than the pandemic have been sort of compelled into it as a result of that is all that they had entry to. They discovered how nice it was and can by no means return. They assume, ‘wow, it is really easy to obtain the most recent bestseller to my Kindle, my cellphone or my iPad.’ There are additionally a whole lot of accessibility advantages with these items. You may enhance the font measurement for individuals who have issue seeing and issues like that.
Q: You stated that libraries play quite a lot of roles in the neighborhood. Is there one which stands out?
A: In some ways, we’re the whole lot to everybody, however we offer entry. We’re form of making an attempt to equalize entry. Lots of people cannot afford to purchase books or e-books or the most recent know-how or have the web at residence. However we’re important for individuals who cannot and by bridging that hole and saying OK, possibly you may tune in right here, or do that newest tech right here, or possibly we test one thing out for you that you just could not in any other case afford to strive it. Many libraries add Wi-Fi hotspots or Roku and GoPros that you would be able to cross round. So actually, simply offering that entry to no matter folks want, and it is our job to be attentive to what the group wants proper now. Is it extra books? Extra digital sources? Extra bodily belongings we mine which might be in non-traditional format?
Q: Clearly, the Schenectady County Public Libraries have undergone a major variety of modifications in recent times, from capital enhancements, the opening of recent branches, and most just lately, the elimination late cost. Is there one thing you hope to perform or one thing you might be planning now to take issues even additional?
A: Our Rotterdam department has simply closed for renovation. Their final open home was Saturday, so one other huge department makeover is going on that we’re enthusiastic about. However a bit alongside the strains of no superb – no superb is eradicating a barrier to entry. The individuals who want the library most frequently cannot afford to pay penalties for not bringing issues again on time. So, I want to have a look at all of our providers and see the place there are different obstacles which may stop folks from accessing the whole lot we provide and what can we do about it. Can we take away different objects? Is it actually troublesome to register for a library card? Generally you want very particular IDs that are a barrier for individuals who do not essentially have them. However all of our insurance policies and all of our providers — taking a look at how can we be as inclusive and welcoming as doable as a result of we’re spending all this cash. The County Legislature funds us very generously to supply entry, so we wish to ensure that folks make the most of that entry and that we make it as simple as doable for them.
Q: Are you able to share your fondest childhood reminiscence of the Schenectady County Public Library system?
A: Oh my God, there are such a lot of. One of many causes I knew I needed to work in a library as quickly as I used to be sufficiently old is that my mom took us to libraries our complete childhood. I simply completed visiting all of the branches at this time and I’ve fond recollections of virtually all of them as a result of we went to all of them, not simply Rotterdam. However I imply it was at Wing Gate the place I keep in mind going to story time with Mrs. Gifford. She’s a legend – a youngsters’s librarian who retired a couple of years in the past however at all times comes again and replaces us, so it is nice to see her once more. It was simply this pleasure of getting somebody introduce you to books and tales after which with the ability to select your individual books and take them residence. That actually caught with me and I like that libraries are nonetheless there to supply that to youngsters nowadays and assist foster that lifelong love of studying.
Q: I might be remiss if I did not ask this: Do you’ve gotten a favourite e book?
A: Sure, “It is the title of the wind” by Patrick Rothfuss. It is fantasy. Some folks have in contrast it to a extra superior “Harry Potter”. I’m a giant fantasy reader. It is my favourite style though I like the whole lot. I’ve at all times cherished magic tales. They’re by some means probably the most thrilling for me.
Contact journalist Chad Arnold at: [email protected] Observe him on Twitter: @ChadGArnold.
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