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Home > About the Library > Staff Spotlight

Shining a light on the people who help make the Fresno County Public Library a place to grow
Shining a light on the people who help make
the Fresno County Public Library a place to grow.

Nominate a Staff Member

Staff Feature:

  • 2014

      • Tisha Foddrill
        Library Assistant I
        Central Branch Library

        Tisha Fodrill

        How long have you worked for the library?

        2 ½ years

        Describe your current job.

        I do a little bit of everything public service related, staffing the computer lab, circulation desk, reference desk, phone center and children's room. I also do a lot of outreach events. This summer I was in charge of much of the summer reading program for our branch. It was a lot of fun! I used to do Interlibrary Loans, which I loved!

        What do you like most about your job?

        The people I work with and helping customers. I love to help people and working with great co-workers helps me enjoy it even more!

        Where is your hometown?

        Reedley, California, the Fruit Basket of America!

        What is your first/favorite Library memory?

        As a kid I remember walking to the Reedley Library after school and sitting with my friends in the kids section reading Judy Blume books.

        What was your first paid job?

        Like a lot of young girls, I started babysitting when I was around 15. My first real world job was as Special Education Instructional Aide at Monte Vista School in Reedley the summer after I graduated high school.

        Why did you decide to work for the Library?

        I would love to say the reason is that I've always wanted to since I love books (which I do), but really it was just great timing. I was ready to go back to work after being home with my daughter for a year and Fresno County Public Library was hiring. It was fate!

        What is your most memorable accomplishment during your Library career?

        I would have to say the Doris Gates Children's Room bulletin boards. I have always helped with creating them, but recently, along with my co-worker Wanda, I have helped to plan and organize the themes as well as come up with a schedule for the boards.

        What are you reading now or what titles are on your reading list?

        I just finished reading Nerd Do Well, which is Simon Pegg's biography. It was hilarious. Currently, I've been reading the Shakespearean Star Wars trilogy and just started the Divergent trilogy. Next on my list is the Game of Thrones series. My daughter and I have also been reading Hello In There, A Big Sister's Book Of Waiting. She is very anxious about the arrival of her little sister in December and wants to read that book almost every night!

        What book became a guilty pleasure read for you?

        The Twilight series.

        What's the best vacation you ever took? Where was it to and why was it the best?

        Last July I went to Japan for the first time with 33 of my relatives and family friends. It was an absolutely unforgettable experience. We were there for 10 days and visited Tokyo, Kyoto and Hiroshima. In Hiroshima we visited the traveling exhibit called the Art of Gaman which includes wood carvings my great-grandfather created while interned at the Poston, Arizona relocation camp during WWII. While in Hiroshima we also met relatives for the first time. It was very emotional! I hope to go back someday!

        If you could be any fictional character, who would you choose?

        Princess Leia.

        What would people be surprised to learn about you?

        That I've got quite a few tattoos.

        If you could throw any kind of party, what would it be like and what would it be for?

        It would definitely be an 80's party with fun music, outrageous outfits, and lots of food!

        If you could learn to do anything, what would it be?

        Speak another language fluently.

        If you could meet anyone, living or dead, who would you want to meet?

        Dead, James Dean. I've always been obsessed with him. Living, Derek Jeter, I'm a huge Yankees fan and very sad that he is retiring!

        What is your favorite breakfast cereal?

        Fruit Loops.

        What is your favorite flavor of ice cream?

        It's a toss-up between Mint Chocolate Chip and Strawberry.

        Which electronic device do you use most?

        My husband would tell you that I'm attached to my cell phone.

        If you had to work on only one project for the next year, what would it be?

        Getting my house organized!

        What was the first book that you read or that you remember being read to you?

        My mom read to me so often; it's hard to remember all of them. But, some of my favorites were The Little Engine That Could, The Giving Tree and Drummer Hoff. I would make my mom read Drummer Hoff to me often and now I read it to my daughter. We love to say But, Drummer Hoff fired it off! together!

        When I'm not at work, you can find me...

        At home hanging out with my husband, having book picnics with my daughter, or playing with my Great Dane and Pit Bull.

        What would you name the autobiography of your life?

        Never Boring

        If you had to live in another country, which would you choose and why?

        Japan, it's amazing there, great food, great people and I have family there.

        What is the best dish you can cook?

        I'm not much of a cook, but I'm really good at following a recipe!

        What's your six-word memoir?

        Not Enough Hours In the Day

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      • Jeremy Boriack
        Literacy Coordinator
        Central Branch Library, Literacy Services Center

        Jeremy Boriack

        How long have you worked for the library?

        6 Months

        Describe your current job.

        My job is to coordinate the outreach to volunteers and adults to participate in the library's adult literacy program.

        What do you like most about your job?

        I love the people. Asking for help is one of the most courageous things any of us can do in life. Those who volunteer their time are some of the most gifted, generous, compassionate, and caring people I've ever had the pleasure of knowing.

        Where is your hometown?

        Reedley, CA is where I call home.

        What was your very first paid job?

        The summer before my fourth grade year, my dad came home early and woke me up. He asked me if I wanted a job. I said, "Yes!" and he took me to work. At the time, he was the director of maintenance and operations for Reedley College. The gymnasium floor was being resurfaced and painted. The old man who was painting it offered me $5 an hour to clean up after him. I scraped masking tape up off of the floor, swept, and then scraped gum off of the bleachers. I made $200 dollars that week.

        Why did you decide to work for the Library?

        I was working in the Department of Behavioral Health as a Staff Analyst. When I read the job description, I knew that I wanted this job. It had "Me" written all over it.

        What is your most memorable accomplishment during your Library career?

        Well, I have survived six months. So far the whole experience has been pretty memorable.

        What are you reading now or what titles are on your reading list?

        I'm in the habit of starting a lot of books these days, but then get distracted by something else. Most consistently, I've actually been reading Parcival The Templar, retold from the German Poet, Wolfram von Eschenbach, by Mary Blackwell Sterling. I love stories related to King Arthur and other legends and myths.

        What book became a guilty pleasure read for you?

        Reflections on the Art of Living: A Joseph Campbell Companion

        What's the best vacation you ever took? Where was it to and why was it the best?

        The best vacation is a draw between the first time I took my kids to Disneyland and my Honeymoon in Ashland, Oregon and Brookings, Oregon

        If you could be any fictional character, who would you choose? (Doesn't have to be a book character - can be from a movie, TV, etc.)

        Captain James Tiberius Kirk

        If you could learn to do anything, what would it be?

        I would learn to make a living playing with my kids all day.

        What is your first/favorite Library memory?

        I grew up in Sanger. My mother was a seamstress. We would go out weekly to Sprouse- Reitz to buy fabric and patterns. I would go with my sister and we would go look at the fish. Afterwards, we would go to the Sanger Library. We would look for books and then go outside and play in the park.

        If you could meet anyone, living or dead, who would you want to meet?

        I would like to meet Abraham Lincoln or Bill Murray

        If you had to work on only one project for the next year, what would it be?

        I had a dream that Bentley the Library Dog came to me in a dream, a classic case of anthropomorphism, and he looked me square in the eyes and said, "I want you to go forth and tell them you're on a mission from the Dog. I want you to put a band together." When I woke up, I took a shower. When I got out of the shower, the mirror was fogged up except for what looked like the word, "bookworms". Suddenly, I remembered my dream and decided that I should put together a band, and it would be called "Bentley and the Bookworms".

        What is your favorite breakfast cereal?

        Does cottage cheese and fruit with granola count as cereal?

        What is your favorite flavor of ice cream?

        Death By Chocolate

        If you could throw any kind of party, what would it be like and what would it be for?

        I like a good private rock concert at Pozo's Saloon. I take myself to a concert almost every year for my birthday.

        Which electronic device do you use most? (computer, smartphone, e-reader, TV, etc.)

        It's a draw between my Kindle Fire and my Windows Mobile Phone.

        What was the first book that you read or that you remember being read to you?

        My mother read to me a lot when I was young. I remember the book I used to pick out for her to read a lot was Strega Nona. I remember staying at my grandmother's house when I was about six. She had such an incredible collection of beautiful hard bound books. I remember I found a book called Tom Sawyer. I stayed up almost all night reading about this mischievous boy. To this day, Mark Twain is one of my favorite authors.

        What would you name the autobiography of your life?

        Horseshoes, Gods, and a Farmer's Boy

        If you had to live in another country, which would you choose and why?

        I would live in Germany because my family is from there and I have friends there.

        What's your six-word memoir?

        I should've turned left at Albuquerque

        What is the best dish you can cook?

        Does fudge or caramel count?

        When I'm not at work, you can find me...

        At C'est La Vie, School of Art. My wife started teaching private lessons in 2013 when she left grad school. We had the dream of starting an arts school when we met in 2011. On our anniversary, July 7, 2014, we opened doors. I spend many evenings and weekends teaching drama classes and helping to manage the office.

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      • Lisa Campbell
        Senior Library Assistant
        Clovis Regional Library

        Lisa Campbell

        How long have you worked for the library?

        14 years

        What do you like most about your job?

        I love my co-workers! They make the day so much fun. Also it is very satisfying to help a customer find what they wanted (or didn't even know they wanted)!

        Where is your hometown?

        Portales, NM

        What was your very first paid job?

        Working on roller skates at Sonic Drive-in. Needless to say my career was very short.

        Why did you decide to work for the Library?

        I have always felt strongly that libraries are the last bastion of perfect freedom. Who wouldn't want to work in a library? Particularly now with all the exciting changes and challenges with technology.

        What is your most memorable accomplishment during your Library career?

        Finally after way too many years to count, I finally finished my BA in Liberal Studies/Library Science.

        What are you reading now or what titles are on your reading list?

        I like the fun stuff. I just read Nora Roberts latest Shadow Spell and I have an affinity for Fantasy Novels such as LOTR and David Eddings' books. I have been trying to read more Young Adult and Children's titles. Recently, I read the children's book "The One and Only Ivan" by Kristine Applegate which I thought was wonderful.

        What book became a guilty pleasure read for you?

        All things Harry Potter! I have probably re-read them 3-4 times.

        What's the best vacation you ever took? Where was it to and why was it the best?

        Southeast Asia 2011-2012. Three weeks of tooling around with my daughter, spending time in Thailand, Laos, Vietnam and Cambodia. It was such an exotic place. I had never been out of the country before. I visited the Buddhist temples of Thailand and Ankor Wat in Cambodia. There was snorkeling, lots of walking, and a two day long boat trip down the Mekong River. One of the highlights was spending the day on an elephant farm in Chang Mai, Thailand. We were able to feed, pet and bathe the elephants...truly amazing! The only time that I was ever afraid in any way was crossing the street in Hanoi ľan extremely terrifying experience!

        If you could be any fictional character, who would you choose? (Does not have to be a book character, it can be from a movie, TV, etc.)

        Possibly Gandalf or Professor McGonagall if I don't feel like gender bending. Yeah, I want to be magical. As a kid it definitely was Pippi Longstocking (I even slept upside down in bed for the longest time!)

        What would people be surprised to learn about you?

        I'm a pretty open book not sure there's much left that would be surprising.

        If you could learn to do anything, what would it be?

        Ninja skills! You didn't say it would have to be realistic!

        If you could meet anyone, living or dead, who would you want to meet?

        Historically I think Cleopatra would be an interesting woman to meet. Alive, I'd like to meet Robert Downey Jr...because he's Robert Downey Jr!

        If you had to work on only one project for the next year, what would it be?

        Don't want to say or I might be asked to do it!

        What is your favorite breakfast cereal?

        I'm not a fan.

        What is your favorite flavor of ice cream?

        Salted Caramel Gelato.

        If you could throw any kind of party, what would it be like and what would it be for?

        It's a party, does it have to be for anything? Seriously, I have always wanted to throw a dress up grown up dinner party.

        Which electronic device do you use most? (computer, smartphone, e-reader, TV, etc.)

        Probably my smartphone, I feel naked without it.

        What was the first book that you read or that you remember being read to you?

        Caps for Sale by Esphyr Slobodkina.

        What would you name the autobiography of your life?

        What happened?

        If you had to live in another country, which would you choose and why?

        Not sure. I have not been enough places to decide. I think Ireland would be great and it appeals to my romantic nature.

        What is the best dish you can cook?

        I make killer cinnamon rolls.

        When I am not at work, you can find me...

        On the couch with a good book or movie from the library.

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      • Bob Sabroe
        Library Assistant I
        Mendota Branch Library

        Anna Solis

        How long have you worked for the library?

        2 years

        How would you describe your current job?

        Interacting with the public and being able to find the item they are looking for.

        What do you like most about your job?

        Making a child's first library card. Looking at their expression when I first hand it over to them is priceless!

        Where is your hometown?

        Born in Fresno, grew up in Mendota.

        What is your first library memory?

        My favorite memory was back in 7th grade and I was volunteering at the school library during the summer. I got to ride my mini-bike to the library and park it in the teachers' lounge. One day though, it leaked oil and I had a mess to clean up.

        What was your very first paid job?

        I was an announcer at a girls' softball league. The season was cut short because of fighting.

        Why did you decide to work for the Library?

        I volunteered at my elementary school library when I was a student there and it was fun! When the opportunity came up all of these years later, I hoped that I could re-capture that upbeat feeling from back then, and I have! An added bonus was that my assignment was in Mendota where I grew up.

        What is your most memorable accomplishment during your library career?

        Well my computer skills have improved. I feel now like I can keep up with the kids who come here.

        What are you reading now?

        Too Far North, Too Far South. It's the story of the Gadsden Purchase from Mexico. I like obscure history! Also, the Life and Times of Babe Ruth.

        What book became a guilty pleasure read for you?

        I love books about ballparks. Really!

        What's the best vacation you ever took? Where was it to and why was it the best?

        One year, my kids and I were coming back from Los Angeles when I turned into the Burbank Airport. They didn't know why we stopped and I told them to get their bags. Didn't say anything to them until we got to the gate and they saw that we were going to Las Vegas. Their reaction to the surprise is what made the trip special.

        If you could be any fictional character, who would you choose?

        It has to be Superman. I had a Superman costume when I was small and I wanted to fly.

        What would people be surprised to learn about you?

        I was a radio disc jockey, I ran the Girl Scout Cookie Sale, I skydived just a couple of years ago, and I am also a Bingo caller.

        If you could throw any kind of party, what would it be like?

        Having a BBQ with my children, grandchildren, my siblings and their families. Having everyone together is great!

        If you could learn to do anything, what would it be?

        Learn how to carry a tune. I like to sing, just wish I could do it better.

        If you could meet anyone, living or dead, who would it be?

        My grandparents. They were all gone by the time I arrived.

        What is your favorite cereal?

        Alpha Bits...without milk

        What is your favorite flavor of ice cream?

        It's a tie: chocolate chip or bubble gum. Also like soft serve vanilla with Hot Tamales candy mixed in.

        Which electronic device do you use most?

        Probably my phone, I don't want to become dependent on too many items.

        If you had to work on only one project for the next year, what would it be?

        I would like to make presentations to elementary school teachers on how the public library can work for them. We have many resources for their classrooms that I don't think that many of them are aware of.

        What was the first book that you read or that you remember being read to you?

        The Lively Little Rabbit was the earliest I can remember. Kept it and gave the book to my grandson just about a year ago.

        What would you name the autobiography of your life?

        A Smile Goes a Long Way.

        If you had to live in another country, which would you choose and why?

        If I had to, I'd live in New Zealand. It's far away but they speak English! But Fresno will always be home.

        What is the best dish you can cook?

        A chocolate almond tort.

        What's your six-word memoir?

        If I had only known then...

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      • Anna Solis
        Senior Library Assistant
        Selma Branch Library

        Anna Solis

        How long have you worked for the library?

        5½ years

        How would you describe your current job?

        I work in the Selma Library. I take care of customers, do shipment, file holds, and keep up with ordering supplies we need for our library. I also work on the schedule along with Sean and make sure our library is tidy and organized. But most importantly, I like to make sure that our staff is happy. If our staff is happy, than our customers will be happy, so yes...we usually have goodies here at least once a week!!

        What do you like most about your job?

        Making a child's first library card. Looking at their expression when I first hand it over to them is priceless!

        Where is your hometown?

        It's a little town 4 miles south of Sanger called Del Rey. It was so small the school went from Kindergarten to 8th grade.

        What is your first library memory?

        As a child, I loved walking over to the bookmobile in Del Rey during the summer. We had a swamp cooler so the air conditioned bookmobile was so welcoming. And of course, it was the books. All the books I could possibly carry home without having to pay for any of them! They were the only books I had access to as a child when our school was out during the summer.

        What was your very first paid job?

        Babysitting at age 13 years old just like everyone else. Then at 15, I worked for a packing house in Del Rey for 2 summers in a row.

        Why did you decide to work for the Library?

        I love being around kids. I started working in the library for a Fresno elementary school and absolutely loved it.

        What is your most memorable accomplishment during your library career?

        My first week when I worked for the school library, all books and shelves needed to be re-shifted and organized. The collection of 12000 books, not including media, also had to be relabeled from Reading counts to Accelerated Reader and every item had to be inventoried. This was done with no volunteers and no extra help in 4 weeks!!

        What are you reading now?

        I'm a huge Nicholas Sparks fan so I'm reading his new book The Longest Ride. Lately, the only way I could get through any book is by listening to it as I'm driving. Otherwise, I have 2 kids jumping on my lap bringing me their books to read.

        What book became a guilty pleasure read for you?

        50 Shades of Grey.

        What's the best vacation you ever took? Where was it to and why was it the best?

        My mom gave me a choice to have a quinceanera or go to Mexico to visit my relatives. I chose Guadalajara, Mexico. My grandfather drove us from Guadalajara to Mexico City, stopping at a lot of beautiful cities in between. Guanajuato was one of my favorite with its narrow cobblestone callejones (alleyways) running up and down the hillside. We went to visit the famous Mummy Tombs Museum. Personally, besides Guadalajara, it is one of the most beautiful cities in Mexico. Those 6 weeks made me love my culture even more.

        If you could be any fictional character, who would you choose?

        Any character with a magical wand will do! I could wave it around and clean up the house, starting with my garage!

        What would people be surprised to learn about you?

        I think I'm pretty much an open book. The only one thing I don't really talk about is that I donated my kidney to my dad back in 1995. He was on dialysis for 4 years and each appointment was heartbreaking. I did not hesitate to volunteer and I will never regret it.

        If you could throw any kind of party, what would it be like?

        I love to throw parties! I've already coordinated parties with an 80's theme, New Year's, children's Halloween, parties for adults, and even a 50 Shades Party! But I would love to throw a party for a Charity.

        If you could learn to do anything, what would it be?

        According to my husband, that would be to cook.

        If you could meet anyone, living or dead, who would it be?

        Mario Lopez, Johnny Depp, Channing Tatum, Dwayne Johnson, Chris Hemsworth. I could pick more than one person right?

        What is your favorite cereal?

        Apple Jacks.

        What is your favorite flavor of ice cream?

        Rite-Aid's Rocky Road Ice Cream.

        Which electronic device do you use most?

        My smartphone, I never leave home without it.

        If you had to work on only one project for the next year, what would it be?

        I would work on bringing in more of our Spanish speaking customers. I would love to have more Spanish books on our shelves. If money wasn't an issue, I would bring in folkloric dancers from our local schools and maybe some local Mexican musicians. This in turn will bring in new customers and we could show them how much a library has to offer. I would also love to host more traditional and cultural events.

        What was the first book that you read or that you remember being read to you?

        I don't remember the very first book that I read, but I do remember the very first chapter book I could not put down. I still can hear my mom yelling out for me trying to get me to eat dinner and all I could say is, "ay voy". (I'm coming) with tears in my eyes. The book was Old Yeller.

        When I'm not at work, you can find me...

        You can find me with my husband, 10yr old daughter, 4yr old and 17 month old sons, walking, playing or just kicking back in my casita (home).

        What's your six-word memoir?

        I'd do anything for my family.

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      • Benjamin Locke
        Library Assistant II,
        Fig Garden Branch Library

        Gail Dahl

        How long have you worked for the Library?

        14 years.

        How would you describe your job?

        I check items out, check items in, and assist the public. I also help create displays at the branch.

        What do you like about your job?

        Meeting interesting people, keeping up with the zeitgeist. I also like discovering things new and old.

        Where is your hometown?

        Porterville.

        What is your favorite library memory?

        I was working at the Gillis Branch Library and someone drove their car through the plate glass window!

        What was the first book that you read or that you remember being read to you?

        Prince Bertram the Bad by Arnold Lobel.

        What are you reading now?

        Gloria Swanson: the Ultimate Star by Stephen Michael Shearer, The Collaboration: Hollywood's Pact with Hitler by Ben Urwand, The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton, and Lost Illusions by Honore de Balzac

        What was your first paid job?

        I was a scullery at a restaurant. I was there one night and decided that was enough of that job.

        Why did you decide to work for the Library?

        I had worked in retail for 12 years and decided I needed a change. I’ve always loved libraries, they have been sanctuaries for me, and so I decided to work in one.

        If you could be any fictional character, who would you choose?

        I would be the Wizard of Oz.

        What is your most memorable accomplishment during your library career?

        A library manager asked me to select DVD titles that would be purchased for a grant. I had a great time selecting DVD titles and it was satisfying because most were added to the library collection.

        If you could learn to do anything, what would it be?

        I would learn to play the piano and how to tap dance.

        If you could meet anyone, living or dead, who would you want to meet?

        Mark Twain.

        What’s the best vacation you ever took? Where was it and why was it the best?

        A few years ago, I got the chance to visit a friend in Maui. The trip was relaxing, had a jolly time, and spending time with my friend was great fun.

        What is your favorite breakfast cereal?

        I don’t like breakfast cereal but I do enjoy eating peanut butter and honey on toast in the morning.

        What would you name the autobiography of your life?

        Night Watchman in the Salon des Refuses.

        If you had to work on only one project for the next year, what would it be?

        I would enjoy selecting notable films available on DVD for the library collection.

        If you could throw any kind of party, what would it be like and what would it be for?

        I would throw an 18th Century masquerade ball. It would be for the sole excuse that it’s a masquerade ball.

        If you had to live in another country, which would you choose and why?

        I would live in France, because it’s France.

        When I’m not at work, you can find me…

        You can find me trying to coax my cat off the roof.

        Which electronic device do you use the most?

        A computer.

        What’s your six-word memoir?

        Shipwrecked on the coast of dreams

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      • Gail Dahl
        Library Assistant II,
        Orange Cove Branch Library

        Gail Dahl

        How long have you worked for the Library?

        5 years permanent staff and 6 years as extra help.

        How would you describe your job?

        I am a Library Assistant II.  I work at the front desk, helping people check out materials.  I get to help people find items they are looking for and suggest other materials that they might like. 

        What do you like most about your job?

        Seeing the smiles on customers’ faces when I have helped them find something that they were looking for.   And, working in my home town—I get to see a lot of people that I grew up knowing.

        Where is your hometown?

        Orange Cove.

        What is your first Library memory?

        I don’t remember a time in my life when I wasn’t going to the library.   As a little girl, I remember going to the tiny little library here in Orange Cove.   Wilma Thomas was the librarian and we would always leave with lots of books.

        What was the first book that you read or that you remember being read to you?

        As a child growing up, we always had books read to us.  My dad loved to read books that would make us laugh.  I think he read all of the Dr. Seuss books.  I remember reading the Amelia Bedelia books and thinking they were funniest books I had ever read.  I still love the Amelia Bedelia books.

        What was your very first paid job?

        I started babysitting at fourteen.  But, I would consider my first real job working at the B & B Drive in Orange Cove.  It was a little hole in the wall burger place.

        Why did you decide to work for the Library?

        I was always in the Library.  Sandi Kuykendall (a former Library employee) suggested that I apply as extra help.

        If you had to work on only one project for the next year, what would it be? 

        Increasing the number of people that are involved in the adult book club.

        What are you currently reading?

        I am reading House Rules by Jodi Picoult.  It is a book that our adult book club is reading.

        What book became a guilty pleasure read for you?

        Hot Shot by Julie Garwood.

        If you could be any fictional character, who would you choose?

        Samantha from Bewitched.  I could wiggle my nose and have a clean house and laundry done.

        What is your most memorable accomplishment during your Library career?

        Helping open up the new branch at Orange Cove.  It was very exciting to be moving into such a nice, new building.

        What would you name the autobiography of your life? 

        Growing Up in The Original OC

        What would people be surprised to learn about you?

        I love to read obituaries, search the “find a grave” site and other genealogy sites.  I find it very interesting to see what people have done during their lifetimes and who they are related to.

        If you could throw any kind of party, what would it be like?

        It would be a holiday party.  Inviting friends and family to celebrate the season with beautiful music playing in the background.   And, every kind of cookie you can imagine.

        If you could learn to do anything, what would it be? 

        Learn to speak and understand many different languages.

        If you could meet anyone, living or dead, who would you want to meet?

        My great, great grandfather, James Holt.  I have found documentation that he was best friends with Abraham Lincoln.  I would like to able to ask him what it was like to grow up and later be friends with the president of the United States.

        What is your favorite breakfast cereal? 

        Cinnamon Chex made into a snack mix with nuts and dried fruit.

        Which electronic device do you use most?

        iPad. 

        If you had to live in another country, which would you choose and why?

        Germany.  Many of my ancestors came from Germany.  If I lived there, I could actually go to where they lived and learn more about my heritage.

        What is the best dish you can cook? 

        Deviled Fried Chicken with mashed potatoes, and roasted asparagus.  And, my grandmother’s peach cobbler for dessert.   My family has put together 3 cookbooks.  Cooking has always been a big part of our family gatherings.

        What is your favorite flavor of ice cream?

        Homemade peach or strawberry.

        What’s the best vacation you ever took?

        We went to Washington DC a few years ago.  I loved Mount Vernon.  I can totally understand why George Washington would live there.  It is beautiful and peaceful!  Arlington Cemetery was very humbling.  The Memorials and Smithsonians were very interesting.  But, my very favorite part of the trip was getting to tour Air Force One with my cousin who is in charge of communications on the plane.  It was very interesting and we learned so many things that I would never have known.

        When I’m not at work, you can find me…

        Shopping- I love finding a good bargain. 

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      • Sam Malveaux
        Library Aide,
        Central Library

        Sam Malveaux

        How long have you worked for the Library?

        2½ years

        How would you describe your job?

        I am a library aide at the Central branch. I am one of four staff members that handle the Central branch’s periodicals. We switch out the old magazines and newspapers for the latest additions, and file the old in the basement. When I’m not handling the periodicals I primarily work in the Doris Gates Children’s Library. I shelve books, looking for new, popular, seasonal, and fun books to put on display. I keep the room clean and orderly, help our patrons find the materials that they are looking for, and keep the books and shelves very straight. I also shelve books in the other areas of the Central branch when I complete my DGCL tasks.

        Where is your hometown?

        Fresno, CA

        What is your first Library memory?

        As a child, I spent a lot of time at the old Sunnyside library so I don’t have a particular first memory. I remember my mom taking us to the library to pick out books, getting my very own blue library card, creating a PIN for my account, and teaching myself how to use the card catalog. My favorite memories are participating in the summer reading program with my sisters and earning Round Table Pizzas! I also remember meeting a pig during a summer reading program event and learning that pigs don’t sweat, a fact that I have pretentiously made known to anyone who has ever stated that they were "sweating like a pig" in my presence since.

        What was the first book that you remember being read to you?

        My mom was constantly reading to my sisters and me, but The Little Critter books by Mercer Mayer were my favorite. The first book I remember reading on my own was Henry and Mudge: The First Book of Their Adventures. That was a pretty big deal to me since it had chapters and I wanted to read chapter books just like my older sisters.

        What are you reading now?

        I’m just getting into Batman graphic novels. I recently read Joker: The Greatest Stories Ever Told, Arkham Asylum: Madness, Gotham City Sirens Volume 1 and Batman: Earth One. Currently I’m reading Gotham City Sirens Volume 2. Up next, I’m going to read Joker, Wonder Woman Odyssey, Batman Dead to Rights, and Batman The Dark Knight: Volume 1, Knight Terrors. I also really enjoy reading picture books and I Can Reads. I love Rosemary Wells.

        What book became a guilty pleasure for you?

        I love the Catwings books by Ursula K. LeGuin. I read the first two books as a kid and it wasn’t until I was an adult that I found out that she had written two more! The only thing better than a cat, is a cat with wings! They are such cute books.

        If you could be any fictional character, who would you choose?

        This is the toughest question ever! There are many fictional characters that I’d like to be. I can’t decide between Catwoman, Batman, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Mystique or Jean Grey. I really want to save the world or my city, just once! Or shape shift or read minds and be able to move objects with my mind, or just be Catwoman because she’s the coolest!  

        What was your very first paid job?

        My first paid job was babysitting. I also did promotional modeling as a teen, and helped my sister with her paper route. My first “real” consistent-schedule job was working as a ticket girl at Rotary Storyland/Playland.

        Why did you decide to work for the Library?

        I’ve always loved libraries, so it sounded very neat to get to work in one.

        What do you like most about your job?

        I think we’ve all heard that children are not reading books as much as they used to and that they spend all of their time playing video games or on the computer, so my favorite part of my job is every time I get to help a kid find a book to read. If I’ve encouraged at least one child to like reading, then I’m a fulfilled woman. 

        What is your most memorable accomplishment during your Library career?

        Last year I was nominated for Employee of the Year. I give my 110% and every single day, I put my heart into my job. It was nice to know that someone noticed my efforts and are appreciated.

        What would people be surprised to learn about you?

        I love fashion and I love to design my own clothes. As an aide, I move a lot. I need comfortable clothes, so I stick to an easy uniform of t-shirts, Dickies and Chuck Taylors. Off the clock, I love to dress up. I love to design dresses, blouses and skirts, and my amazing sister/seamstress, Leanndra, turns my designs into actual garments. It is so fun to wear one of a kind, originals that I helped to create! 

        If you could meet anyone, living or dead, who would you want to meet?

        I would love to meet Sylvester Stallone! I love his movies!

        What is your favorite breakfast cereal?

        Lucky Charms! They’re magically delicious.

        Which electronic device do you use most?

        The good, old television. I have a show for every night of the week and when they’re on off season, I watch my favorite old shows on Netflix.

        What is the best dish you can cook?

        Toast and waffles with a toaster. I’m not a cook or a baker. Thankfully, I reside with my mom and sister or I would starve.

        What is your favorite flavor of ice cream?

        Mint Chip Ice Cream from Thrifty’s.

        What’s the best vacation you ever took?

        My best vacation ever was earlier this year when my sisters and I went to Las Vegas. It was the best because I was with my two sisters, who are my best friends and favorite people in the whole world! I love them with all of my heart. We got to see Def Leppard and my favorite band, Stellar Corpses. Plus, we watched the Dancing Fountains of the Bellagio so many times! I think the Bellagio Fountain is my favorite place ever.

        What’s your six-word memoir?

        Sam Malveaux Takes Care of Business!

        When I’m not at work, you can find me...

        At home! I’m an absolute homebody. Other than work I only leave my house for church and maybe a once a month shopping trip, or the occasional rock/metal concert. I just love to be at home with my family and cats having Netflix/Hulu movie/TV show marathons.

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      • Rebecca (Becky) Matli
        Library Supervisor,
        Park View Cluster

        Rebecca Matli

        How long have you worked for the Library?

        15+ years

        Describe your current job.

        I am currently the Supervisor for the Park View Cluster branches which consist of the Politi, Pinedale, and Woodward Park Regional branches.

        What do you like most about your job?

        I like working with a dedicated and supportive group of staff who work very hard to satisfy our customers on a daily basis.  I also enjoy the variety, as no two days are exactly alike.   And last but not least, it is wonderful to work and have my base at Woodward Park, in a newer building, after spending most of my 35-year library career in dreary or outdated buildings.

        Why did you decide to work for the Library?

        I received my teaching credential back in the 1970s when there were few open teaching positions even then.  I spent a year substitute teaching and a lot of my free time in the public library.   I befriended a couple of librarians in Michigan who encouraged me to pursue my library science degree.   After listening to their testimonies, I decided being a librarian would be a good fit for me.

        If you had to work on only one project for the next year, what would it be?

        I would like to continue to promote the Art Demonstrations that I am launching at the Woodward Park Library.   There are so many talented artists in our area who would love the opportunity to share their skills and tips with others.   The Friends of the Woodward Park Library have been supportive of this idea and I hope with their help, we can continue this project.

        What is your most memorable accomplishment during your Library career?

        My most memorable accomplishment during my library career would have to be my years spent as the first Facilities Coordinator for the Fresno County Public Library.   After the passage of the first Measure B tax measure in 1998 and the availability of State Bond Act money, the library was able to receive grant money and pursue many new building projects.   I was directly involved with generating new building projects in Kerman, Caruthers, Mendota, Woodward Park, and Tranquillity branches.   I also worked on renovations at Fig Garden, Riverdale, Mosqueda, Laton, Kingsburg, Central, and in various facility capacities at most of the other branches.  

        What is your first/favorite Library memory?

        My favorite library memory would have to be bringing the idea of the Gingerbread House craft project to Fresno from my previous job in Michigan.   After sharing the idea with our Programming Department staff, the project took off and expanded to nearly every branch location.   All age groups have enjoyed this project over the years and I am happy to have brought a smile to so many people.  It is a reminder to me that one person can make a difference in many people’s lives.    I jokingly call it “my first building project”.

        What was the first book that you read?

        I don’t recall the first book, but I know there were many.   I received many books as gifts during holidays and birthdays and in my youth, avidly read all the time.   I even saved my money to buy the Nancy Drew series books, because back then they were not allowed in the public library. One summer when I was about 7 or 8 years old my older sister read me The Hound of the Baskervilles.   It was spooky then.

        What are you reading now?

        I currently have a stack of books on my nightstand.   I’m reading Dan Brown’sInferno and alternate between that and Susan Wittig Albert’s Widow’s Tears. I also alternate between any art book, particularly painting, that I can get my hands on.

        What would you name the autobiography of your life?

        There’s More to Come!

        Where is your hometown?

        I was born and grew up in Council Bluffs, Iowa on 14 acres of property.

        What was your very first paid job?

        Besides babysitting and yard work, I worked retail in a department store selling baby and children’s clothes when I was 15 years old.

        If you could throw any kind of party, what would it be like?

        I like holiday parties and would love to have another Christmas party again.

        If you could learn to do anything, what would it be?

        A better painter and successful artist.

        If you could meet anyone, living or dead, who would it be?

        Georgia O’Keefe or Mary Cassatt.   Their art work is renowned and their lives were interesting.  It would be fun to talk with them. 

        What is the best dish you can cook?

        I cook a savory beef stew and love to bake cookies, pies and bread.  You know, all the fattening stuff!

        When I’m not at work, you can find me…

        Working at home!   I also love to paint, walk my dog, and spend time with family and friends.

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      • Ernie Perez
        Building Maintenance Janitor,
        Raisin Vine Cluster

        Ernie Perez

        How long have you worked for the Library?

        13 years.

        How would you describe your job?

        I maintain a clean and safe environment at the Caruthers, Fowler, Easton, Laton and Riverdale branches.

        Where is your hometown?

        Fresno, CA

        What was your very first paid job?

        My first job was delivering the Fresno Bee when I was12.  I also worked in the vineyards in the summer with an all-Filipino crew to help buy my school clothes.

        What is your first/favorite Library memory?

        My first library memory was delivering the Fresno Bee to the Central Library.  I was 12 and I would deliver the paper, thumb through books, and enjoy the air conditioning and cold water fountain on hot summer days.

        What do you like most about your job?

        The people.  The people I work with daily, the maintenance crew, library staff at each location and the friends of the library.  Not to mention the friends I’ve made in other departments over the years.

        Why did you decide to work for the Library?

        I applied at the Library after the passage of the original Measure B.  I wanted to be a part of something fresh, new exciting and growing.

        What is your most memorable accomplishment during your Library career?

        I think it is keeping my libraries in good repair, as clean as I can, and holding myself to the highest standard. 

        What was the first book that you remember being read to you?

        The first book I remember being read to me as a child was Down Our Way.  I liked the pictures and I still have that book.

        What are you reading now?

        Now I mainly read the Fresno Bee and keep up with current events and interesting stories.  Every day I do the crossword puzzles.

        If you could be any fictional character, who would you choose?

        Tom Sawyer.  I love his sense of adventure and all the different people he becomes acquainted with.

        What would you name the autobiography of your life?

        La Vida Loca.

        What would people be surprised to learn about you?

        I am a professional bassist and currently play with several groups in the Central Valley and the Bay Area.

        If you could learn to do anything, what would it be?

        I would love to fly a glider.

        What is your favorite breakfast cereal?

        Raisin Bran.

        Which electronic device do you use most?

        Computer.

        What is your favorite flavor of ice cream?

        Maple Nut.

        What’s the best vacation you ever took?

        The first time I went to Maui was to a family reunion in 1975.  I liked it so much I stayed for 3 years!

        What’s your six-word memoir?

        Keep learning, stay focused, be present.

        When I’m not at work, you can find me…

        Working on home renovation projects, pulling weeds in my garden and practicing for my next gig.

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      • Janice Gillaspy
        Library Assistant Supervisor,
        Central Library

        Deb Hall

        How long have you worked for the Library?

        23 years

        Describe your current job.

        I am the supervisor of the Central Public Services staff, which includes a Senior Library Assistant and Library Assistants I /II in Customer Service. I work with a great team, scheduling coverage for all Public Service desks at Central and working with staff to achieve their goals on a daily basis.

        What do you like most about your job?

        The challenge of making the Public Service desk schedule. It’s fitting in each staff like a 5,000 piece jigsaw puzzle each day.

        Where is your hometown?

        I was born in Elgin, Illinois and lived in the suburb of Keeneyville.

        What was the first book memory?

        My mother read poetry to us and I was given If I Ran the Zoo by Dr. Seuss for Christmas one year.

        What was your very first paid job?

        A paper route in Illinois, I was 7 years old.

        Why did you decide to work for the Library?

        I had a friend who was working here and told me about an opening.

        What is your most memorable accomplishment during your Library career?

        I started out as an Aide, and then became a Library Assistant. I was extra help and then became a full-time Senior Library Assistant. I was then promoted to Library Assistant Supervisor. My most memorable accomplishments are the experience that I had before moving up through the system and the knowledge that I was given by supervisors and co-workers.

        What is your favorite Library memory?

        My favorite memory with the Library was working with the Friends of the Library on the Dinner in the Library that is held each year in November at the Central Library. Over five years, I was able to share my knowledge and creativity by hosting tables about Oscar Wilde, Lewis Carroll, Edgar Allan Poe, the Beat Generation, and Shakespeare.

        What are you reading now?

        Fiction mysteries about librarians, the Miss Zukas series by Jo Dereske. They face the same issues we do each day—customers, co-workers, theft…except they get to solve murders.

        What would people be surprised to learn about you?

        I‘ll give the shirt off my back, I’ll just tell you how to wear it.

        If you could throw any kind of party, what would it be like?

        I would host a costume ball with each guest in dress as a character by their favorite author or time period. It would not have to be a special occasion—I’d just need a large enough location.

        If you could learn to do anything, what would it be?

        I would like to learn how to play the saxophone.

        If you could meet anyone, who would it be?

        Frankenstein, he’s both living and dead.

        Which electronic device do you use most?

        DVD player, watching film noir.

        If you had to live in another country, which would you choose and why?

        Egypt. Ever since I can remember, I have enjoyed Egyptian art and history. A friend of mine made me an Egyptian wall-hanging and one year I was given a sarcophagus CD holder for Christmas. I then designed my bedroom with Egyptian artifacts, hangings and pictures.

        What is the best dish you can cook?

        Cooking makes me nervous; however I do make a good potato salad.  I would rather bake. You mix the ingredients, set the timer, relax, drink a beer…“Ding!” the chocolate chip cookies are done. I also enjoy canning green tomato relish and lemon curd.

        What is your favorite flavor of ice cream?

        Jamoca Almond Fudge

        What’s the best vacation you ever took?

        I drove across the United States and stopped along the way at the Grand Canyon, Hot Springs Arkansas, and Graceland and sat on the beach at the Atlantic Ocean in Virginia. Getting to stop and see all the sites in the USA was fun and educational.

        If you had to work on only one project for the next year, what would it be?

        Making creative bulletin boards for the Doris Gates Children’s Library.

        When I’m not at work, you can find me…

        Digging in the dirt.

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      • Karen Coletti
        Administrative Secretary to the County Librarian & Associate County Librarian,
        Central Library Business Office

        Karen Coletti

        How long have you worked for the Library?

        Four years.

        How would you describe your job?

        It is a job that fits me perfectly.  It is exciting, never dull, and ever-changing.  My main duty is helping keep the County Librarian and Associate County Librarian ahead of their game.  It is all about a TEAM effort!

        Where is your hometown?

        Fresno, CA

        What is your first Library memory?

        Getting to ride my bike to the Bookmobile at West & Shields BY MYSELF!

        What was the first book that you remember being read to you?

        I had a Little Golden Book titled Nurse Nancy.  That is my mother’s name and I thought it was so cool she had a book named after her.

        What was your very first paid job?

        I worked at K-Mart in high school.  I had to buy gas for my Volkswagen.

        Why did you decide to work for the Library?

        I had been a stay-at-home mom for 17 years. My baby went off to college and it was time for me to get on with the next chapter in the book!

        What do you like most about your job?

        The fulfillment of helping people.

        If you had to work on only one project for the next year, what would it be?

        Trying to complete and finish a job manual for my desk.  It is something that I feel would benefit the whole office.

        What is your most memorable accomplishment during your Library career?

        Every day at the Library is memorable and every day I feel like I have accomplished something.

        What are you reading now?

        The Engagements by J. Courtney Sullivan. I also loved her last book, Maine.

        If you could be any fictional character, who would you choose?

        Someone who dances all the time.

        What would people be surprised to learn about you?

        That I am a city slicker by day and pioneer woman at night!

        What would you name the autobiography of your life?

        The Real Housewife of Tollhouse.

        If you could throw any kind of party, what would it be like?

        I love a good BBQ and definitely dancing.  I’m helping to plan my daughter’s wedding now and there will be plenty of both at that party!

        If you could learn to do anything, what would it be?

        Ride a horse.

        If you could meet anyone, living or dead, who would you want to meet?

        Katherine Hepburn.

        What is your favorite breakfast cereal?

        Oatmeal.

        Which electronic device do you use most?

        My iPad Mini—it has everything.

        If you had to live in another country, which would you choose and why?

        Italy. Does there need to be an explanation?

        What is the best dish you can cook?

        I make a great pot roast.

        What is your favorite flavor of ice cream?

        Chocolate-mint or, in the summer, anything sherbet.

        What’s the best vacation you ever took?

        I am not much of a travel person.  The best time spent away from home is with my husband and kids.

        What’s your six-word memoir?

        Love, family, dance, laugh, forgive, forget.  

        When I’m not at work, you can find me…

        At home, enjoying life. I keep it pretty simple.

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      • Deb Hall
        Library Assistant II,
        Fig Garden Regional Library

        Deb Hall

        How long have you worked for the Library?

        28 years.

        How would you describe your current job?

        I work at the very busy Fig Garden Library. I spend most of my time at the circulation desk, helping folks with their checkouts, account questions, and requests.  For me, though, the most important part is helping them feel at ease and greeting them by name.  In a world that’s sometimes very impersonal, it gives folks an emotional lift when you remember them.

        Where is your hometown?

        I was born in Selma, but grew up in Fresno.  Despite its challenges, I’ve come to love my hometown.  People are friendly here, and there are a lot of great people working to make Fresno a better place.  The library makes a big contribution to that effort, and I’m proud to be a part of it.

        What is your first library memory?

        When I was attending Sequoia Junior High, I was kicked out of the library for talking too much.  A friend, who fancied himself a future lawyer, offered to represent me—a defense I didn’t ask for.  I knew I was guilty.  It was funny and very dramatic.  Typical junior high stuff.

        What was the first book that you read?

        Little Black, A Pony by Walter Farley.  I still love this book.  I gave a copy to my niece, Shannon, who grew up with horses and started riding at age 3.  Little Black was one of the first books she read.  Now a Texas teenager, she’s moved on to other things, but this is still one of my most cherished memories of her. It’s a wonderful thing to pass on a much beloved book to someone you love.

        What was your very first paid job?

        I was a carhop at Wilkins’ Drive-In in Selma.  My Uncle Curly owned the place, and it was kind of a rite of passage for the Hall and Wilkins kids to work there.  I was kind of awkward as a teenager, and I accidentally dumped an iced tea in a guy’s lap one summer.  No tip for me.

        Why did you decide to work for the Library?

        My first Fresno County job was with the Sheriff’s Department.  Even though I’ve never regretted the experience, I’ve also never regretted leaving.  When I wondered, “What’s the most civil and positive place I could work?” the Library came to mind.  That was in 1984.  It’s the best move I ever made.

        What do you like most about working at the Library?

        I most enjoy being a part of a staff that provides a warm and welcoming environment for our customers.  I also enjoy promoting the wide variety of programs that our staff has created.  When I hear comments like, “Wow! The library has everything,” and “This is a really great community meeting place,” I know we’re doing things right.  Promoting the library as the best deal in town is what we do best.

        What is your most memorable accomplishment during your library career?

        In January of 2011, I started a Children’s Self-Defense program.  A year later, How To Protect Your Kids From Child Predators was born.  Leading these programs are Bruce Whitsitt, a martial arts black belt and Joan Newcomb, a retired FCC and CSUF instructor.  Twice a year, they both share their knowledge, and KNOWLEDGE is POWER.  Something as simple as a family password can save a child’s life.  I was nominated in April 2012 as a Library Star during National Library Week, by a family who was empowered by these programs. My favorite poster reads, “It doesn’t matter what kind of house you live in or car you drive.  It matters only that you make a difference in the life of a child.”  I hope always to be able to do that in some way.

        What are you reading now?

        I prefer non-fiction, especially about people overcoming adversity.  I just finishedVoluntary Madness: My Year Lost And Found In The Loony Bin by Norah Vincent. And I’m savoring Seeking Peace: Chronicles Of The Worst Buddhist In the Worldby Mary Pipher, and Bless Me, Ultima by Rudolfo Anaya.  The outstanding play really made our Big Read book come alive for me.

        What book became a guilty pleasure read for you?

        For fun, I return to any Earl Emerson mystery, most recently Catfish Café, featuring my favorite Seattle P.I., Thomas Black.  I love his smart-aleck wit, and his ethics.  Emerson’s mysteries serve as great guidebooks for Seattle tourists, and having nearly been born there, it’s fun to imagine growing up and making a life in the Emerald City.

        If you could be any fictional character, who would you choose?

        Scout, from To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee.  It was my favorite movie as a child and teen, back before VCRs, when it was shown once a year.  It was a big deal if I missed it, because I really identified with her.  Scout was an inquisitive, sometimes trouble-making, smart-mouthed tomboy, and so was I.  And her heart touched mine.  The innocence of a child exposed to very adult issues, being able to see clearly what adults couldn’t see, is what makes the book a timeless classic. I adored Scout, Jem, and Dill, identified with their antics, and found their fascination with Boo to be familiar. There’s a misunderstood person in every neighborhood.

        What would you name the autobiography of your life?

        Taking The Long Road Home.  I think that would best sum up my life’s journey so far, and I tend to travel that way, too.

        What would people be surprised to learn about you?

        I’ve had a lot of variety in my life that has served me well.  Music was my passion as a child, teen, and young adult.  I was a drum major in high school, played the oboe in orchestras and concert bands, and enjoyed a couple turns with the Fresno Philharmonic in the mid-70’s.  I was a Fresno Sheriff’s Department Correctional Officer in the early 80’s, and stood across the bars from Clarence Ray Allen, the last person executed on California’s death row.  I’ve done a lot of public speaking on issues close to my heart, and in the 90’s, I volunteered at Chowchilla Women’s Prison.  A teacher told me years ago that I’d learn something lasting from everything I did, and that I’d come back to those lessons throughout my life.  I didn’t believe it then, but it’s true.              

        If you could throw any kind of party, what would it be like, and what would it be for?

        I’d organize a Greatest Generation Memories Reunion, something my cousin and I have talked about doing.  Our parents are all gone, but the common thread of their wisdom runs through all of us Baby Boomers.  Their philosophy of “taking life one day at a time” is a powerful reminder in times like these.  Honoring them through shared stories and great food would be the focus of the day.

        If you could learn to do anything, what would it be?

        I’ve always wanted to play the drums.  In the 60’s, girls didn’t play percussion.   And then Karen Carpenter came on the scene.  “Hey, girls really can play drums.”  

        If you could meet anyone, living or dead, who would you want to meet?

        I’ve never set my sights on meeting any one person, but I love the ability of music to change one’s mood, so I treat myself to an occasional concert.  I’ve seen Dave Brubeck, Arlo Guthrie and family, and have met Pat Metheny and Janis Ian.  I hope to make a Joan Baez concert someday.  There’s nothing like a live concert to put a spring in your step.

        What is the best dish you can cook?

        I’ve been known to make a mean meatloaf, but I’m not keen on leftovers.  “Cooking” is what Trader Joe’s and Fresh & Easy are for.

        What’s the best vacation you ever took? 

        In the late 80’s, I took a 2-week solo motorcycle vacation on my BMW R80ST.  I rode Hwy 49 through the Gold Country, visited friends and family up north, and then headed to Monterey.  I came back home over the Coalinga Hills Road, one of my favorite rides.  Back then, people were curious about a woman on two wheels, which made for some interesting conversations along the way.  Had I been in a car, I would have been invisible.

        Which electronic device do you use most often?

        Do flash drives count?  I live pretty much gadget-free, but I wouldn’t mind owning an iPad.  I’m still wowed by what these devices can do.   To my non-techie mind, it’s magic.  But I’d still rather have a book in my hand. 

        What is your favorite breakfast cereal?

        Trader Joe’s Gluten Free Loaded Fruit & Nut Granola.  Now that’s a mouthful.

        What is your favorite flavor of ice cream?

        Coconut Pineapple or Pistachio Nut.

        When I’m not at work, you can find me?

        Reading, listening to Giants baseball, at the gym, at a Tai Chi class, or taking in a movie.  But most enjoy spending time with my nieces and nephews: Krista, Corbin, Conrad, Shayna and Alexa Marie.  They keep me grounded, entertained, and reminded of what’s most important in life.

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      • Samantha Kister
        Library Aide,
        Sanger Branch Library

        Samantha Kister

        How long have you worked for the Library?

        12 years.

        How would you describe your current job?

        I'm a Library Aide at the Sanger Branch and my job is keeping my branch presentable at all times. I make sure that our materials are in order, displays up to date and looking pretty, help at the desk when needed, and any other odd jobs that need to be done.

        What do you like most about your job?

        The people that I get to work with on a daily basis. We make sure that we have fun, but also that we do efficient work at the same time.

        Where is your hometown?

        I was born and raised in Sanger, California.

        What is your first Library memory?

        My mom brought me, my little sister, and a couple cousins to see a summer reading program show. I remember sitting down for the show and Terrance McArthur, Librarian at the Sanger Branch, was doing a puppet show that day.

        What was your very first paid job?

        It seems like it was forever ago, but my first job was when I was fifteen and I was a tutor. I was employed by a program called ‘Teach for Sanger’. My job was to help elementary students one-on-one develop better reading skills, go figure.

        Why did you decide to work for the Library?

        I'm a reader and I love it! When I first started with the Library I was a summer volunteer and I noticed that I was at the Library more than I was at home. Eventually a Youth Worker position opened up at the Sanger Branch and I applied. I was so happy when I was hired on and took advantage of learning how everything functioned in a working branch. A few years later a permanent position opened up for a Library Aide and I applied. I have now been a permanent employee for six years and I couldn't be happier.

        What is your most memorable accomplishment during your Library career?

        In the past year I was given the task of weeding and shifting all the materials in Sanger Branch, all while keeping up with my other responsibilities.

        What are you reading now?

        I am currently reading Insurgent by Veronica Roth and I'm still trying my hand at listening to a book on cd, still a little weird for me, but I did pick up The Demon King by Cinda Williams Chima.

        What book became a guilty pleasure read for you?

        I cannot lie, but the Fifty Shades of Grey Trilogy (in eBook also) by E.L. James has become a guilty pleasure for me. I have read the trilogy several times and can't get enough of the whole love story.

        If you could be any fictional character, who would you choose?

        I would have to say Emma Stone's character from 'Easy A.' Olive was smart, fun, quirky, plus she gets her own musical number, and her dream guy!

        What would you name the autobiography of your life?

        W.W.Y.D.W.S? (What Would You Do Without Sam?)

        What would people be surprised to learn about you?

        I am not a natural blonde... Man I'm glad I got that off my chest. Just kidding. I think people would most be surprised to learn that I even though I like things to be done down to the last detail, I love doing everything like the country girl that I am. I can thank my dad for showing me how to fish, shoot a gun, and just enjoy life because when you grow up you have to worry about grown up things. I'm not ready to grow up anytime soon!

        If you could throw any kind of party, what would it be like?

        I've always liked the idea of a black and white masquerade. Maybe, but then I think about it some more and a decade dance sounds fun. Hmm... maybe the 20's.

        If you could learn to do anything, what would it be?

        Ballroom dance! I love watching ‘Dancing with the Stars’ and coming to work the following morning to talk about it with my co-workers. So you know if anyone wanted to put in a call to Derek Hough or Tristan MacManus to be my teacher, I would not mind one bit.

        If you could meet anyone, living or dead, who would it be?

        Judy Garland! The Wizard of Oz is my favorite movie and you can ask my dad if you think I'm lying. I used to wake him up at night just to make him watch it with me when I was little.

        What is your favorite breakfast cereal?

        Frosted Flakes.

        What is your favorite flavor of ice cream?

        Ben & Jerry's Chunky Monkey Ice Cream.

        Which electronic device do you use most?

        It would be a tie between my Kindle Fire and my smartphone, but at least my Kindle fire doesn't try to correct me when I spell things wrong. Stupid smartphone!

        If you had to live in another country, which would you choose and why?

        Ireland! Totally, Ireland! I've wanted to go there for so long because I'm part Irish. Who knows I might have family there and find out I'm a princess or something.

        What is the best dish you can cook?

        I'm not a big fan of cooking because that means there will be dishes to clean after, but when I do cook it would have to be...shrimp and penne noodles with a vodka sauce.

        What's the best vacation you ever took?

        That would have to be between two memories. The first was when my family visited Hearst Castle because we hardly ever get to go anywhere together and the place was just gorgeous. The second was when I went to Salinas, CA for spring break with my two best friends and we stayed for almost four days. We went to the beach, the aquarium, and just had fun being together for a while.

        When I'm not at work, you can find me...

        At home, being lazy with my Kindle Fire and letting my mind wander in a good book. Or going out with friends that I haven't seen because I was too busy reading my book that I didn't want to put down.

        What's your six-word memoir?

        I Got a Pocketful of Sunshine!

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      • Krista Riggs
        Librarian,
        Woodward Park Regional Library

        Krista Riggs

        How long have you worked for the Library?

        8 ½ years.

        How would you describe your current job?

        I am so lucky to spend most of my time in the Children’s Room at the Woodward Park Library. My job consists of a lot of programming- five story times a week at Woodward and the Politi Branch, plus field trips for schools and day cares, tours for scouts and other groups, and monthly school-age programs. I also enjoy helping families in the Children’s Room, occasionally venturing out to the adult section, too.

        What do you like most about your job?

        I love coming to work every day! I especially love combining elements of early literacy and kindergarten readiness in musical programs. Library story times are about so much more than just the stories! The rhythms of songs and rhymes help our babies grasp language, and the consistency of a routine helps our preschoolers build their attention spans and ability to follow direction for future success in school. Plus, it’s all so much fun! I also have the best co-workers. Many of our county’s Library staff seem like extended family to me.

        What was your very first paid job?

        I worked at Arby’s as a summer job in college- the perfect job for a vegetarian. I was thrilled to not be big enough to operate the meat slicer!

        Where is your hometown?

        I was born in Colorado, and I’ve also lived in Arizona, Michigan, Florida, Indiana, and now California.

        What is your first/favorite Library memory?

        We would regularly visit our local library in Arizona, and I fondly remember choosing a huge pile of picture books and plopping down in the middle of an aisle to read. I also loved being part of the summer reading program, back when the prizes were just simple stickers!

        What is your most memorable accomplishment during your Library career?

        So many! The first time a baby claps her hands during lap-sit, the first time a shy child participates in story time, having former story time kids return to tell me of all their accomplishments, getting invited to awards ceremonies and performances of our talented kids, I could go on and on! This is a great community and I’m so honored to be a part of it. 

        What was the first book that you read or that you remember being read to you?

        I don’t remember a particular book, but I remember the warmth and comfort of being read to regularly. My mom has a wonderful sense of humor, and the books she chose reflect that: Amelia Bedelia, Hoban’s Frances books, stories by Jack Kent.

        What would people be surprised to learn about you?

        I have a Doctor of Music degree in Oboe Performance and Literature from Indiana University, and I live with a bunch of raucous parrots! I can also ride a unicycle…

        If you could learn to do anything, what would it be?

        I have a secret desire to fly an airplane.

        Why did you decide to work for the Library?

        I have the librarian gene! My dad was Dean of Libraries at Arizona State University and the University of Michigan, and my sister also has her MLS degree. Reading and visiting libraries have always been such an integral part of my life. However, it wasn’t until I did an internship in children’s materials and programming at a public library while in graduate school that I found my niche, something I would be happy doing for the rest of my life.

        What are you reading now or what titles are on your reading list?

        I still love the picture books and early readers! My current favorites are the Croaky Pokey by Ethan Long, anything by Jan Thomas or Mo Willems, and the Mr. Putter and Tabby series by Cynthia Rylant.

        If you could throw any kind of party, what would it be like and what would it be for?

        I’m more of a homebody. Staying in, enjoying the garden, maybe going for a nice walk or a drive through the countryside.

        If you could meet anyone, living or dead, who would it be?

        It would be interesting to meet Amelia Earhart to find out what really happened to her.  I also have great admiration for Clara Schumann, wife of composer Robert Schumann.

        What book became a guilty pleasure read for you?

        I love escaping into mystery and suspense: J. A. Jance’s novels and earlier books by James Patterson or Stuart Woods.

        If you could be any fictional character, who would you choose?

        Probably a tamer version of Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum- although I’m not sure I could keep up with all of that adventure!

        Which electronic device do you use most?

        I probably use my Kindle Fire the most, both for reading books and surfing the web. I love being able to download eBooks from the Library!

        What is the best dish you can cook?

        Does cereal count? I can bake a mean batch of cookies, but I’m not much of a cook.

        What is your favorite breakfast cereal?

        Oatmeal when I’m being healthy, and Lucky Charms when I’m not.

        What is your favorite flavor of ice cream?

        Definitely lemon sorbet with a “mix-in” of gummy bears.

        What’s the best vacation you ever took?

        I love road trips to the mountains or visits to any of the national parks.  I’ve also been so fortunate to travel a lot for music performances all across the US and to Canada, Europe, and Asia. Someday I would love to travel down under and visit Australia.

        If you had to work on only one project at the Library for the next year, what would it be?

        Story time!!!

        What would you name the autobiography of your life?

        Here’s a Funny Story…

        What’s your six-word memoir?

        I’m not good at word exercises. (That’s six words, right?)

        When I’m not at work, you can find me…

        Exploring the great nearby parks, trails, mountains, and lakes with my dog, Charlie. We enjoy taking advantage of the many wonderful opportunities for outdoor adventure in and around Fresno.

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      • Wendy Eisenberg
        Librarian III Supervisor,
        Sierra Gateway Cluster


        Wendy Eisenberg

        How would you describe your current job?

        I’m in charge of a group of 30 wonderful, hardworking, fun people who staff six library locations known as the Sierra Gateway Cluster: Clovis, Cedar-Clinton, Mosqueda, Auberry, Big Creek, and Shaver Lake. It’s great to learn about all these wonderful Library branches, their staff, their communities and their customers. I particularly enjoy my trips to the mountains (except when the weather’s bad!)

        What would most people be surprised to learn about you?

        I have played piano since college and once was the keyboardist and flutist for a rock band formed by my brother. It was a blast!

        What was your very first paid job?

        I was a waitress at The Salvation Army’s Camp Redwood Glen for several summers. It didn’t pay much, but it was very enjoyable. The camp setting in the Santa Cruz Mountains was beautiful.

        Why did you decide to work for the library?

        I got my Bachelor’s Degree in Occupational Therapy and spent several years working in that field. However it soon became clear that it wasn’t where I wanted to be for the rest of my life. I sought guidance from a professional career counselor who helped me figure out that librarianship was a perfect fit for me. I got my Master’s Degree in Library and Information Science and haven’t regretted it. Working in the Library’s Reference Department was my first full-time librarian job and I loved it. Then I became supervisor of the Talking Book Library for the Blind until I took charge of the Sierra Gateway Cluster of branches last year.

        What is your most memorable accomplishment during your library career?

        I am proud of the 12 years I spent at Talking Book. I was part of a wonderful program – promoting its services through outreach activities and getting to know the local community of people with disabilities. It was an amazing experience to steer the change from cassettes to digital talking book cartridges and downloadable talking books. Talking Book will always be close to my heart. And yes, I still have and use my Talking Book player.

        What is your first/favorite library memory?

        I’ve always been a reader! My childhood library was the San Bruno Public Library. We went there frequently and I remember learning a lot about different kinds of books. I recently found a picture of my first official library “job” as an assistant in that library when I was in junior high.

        What was the first book that you read or that you remember being read to you?

        I have no idea—there were so many—but I do remember *listening* to a record that had the story of Cinderella on one side and the story of Thumbelina on the other.

        What are you reading now or what titles are on your reading list?

        I am currently reading Forgiven by Karen Kingsbury in print and listening to An Echo in the Bone by Diana Gabaldon on Talking Book. On my reading list are Code Name Verity and Gone Girl (both recommended by friends) and I’m rereading the Karen Kingsbury Baxter Family series.

        When I'm not at work, you can find me.

        At home with my husband and son, at my son’s karate practices, at church choir rehearsal, participating in the Order of the Eastern Star, or many other activities!

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      • Kao Her
        IT Analyst,
        Central Branch Library


        Kao Her

        How would you describe your current job?

        I spend most of my day collaborating with colleagues, creating and updating valuable information on the Library’s website. I also help plan and promote upcoming events for the website.

        What would most people be surprised to learn about you?

        I am a pretty good cook. I like taking classic recipes and making them my own by adding different spices and swapping out ingredients. I find inspiration from everything around me and go along with what feels and tastes right.

        What was your very first paid job?

        I worked at Taco Bell in high school. It only paid minimum wage at $4.75 an hour, but I guess for being a high school kid, it was better than no money. Plus I got to work with some of my best friends so the time tended to fly by.

        Why did you decide to work for the library?

        It's actually a funny story. In college, I started hanging out at the Gillis Branch Library when I found out that a girl I liked worked there. (She is now my wife.) The staff started putting me to work because I was there so much. When a Library Assistant position opened up in the West Fresno branches, I was asked to apply and I did and got the job. Ten plus years later and I’m still here!

        What is your most memorable accomplishment during your library career?

        Over the last 10+ years, I’ve worked at several different branches and worked on so many activities. I think the most memorable thing I ever did was window painting and face painting. I had the opportunity to paint the windows at the Gillis and Cedar-Clinton branches to promote library programs. Recently I was part of the team that won the PR Excellence Award from the California Library Association for the Fresno County Public Library's event, "The Big Read: Jack London's The Call of the Wild."

        What is your first/favorite library memory?

        I remember walking the three blocks from home to the Gillis Branch Library with my brothers and sisters. We would always check out books and look around the library then go to the convenience store next door for some ice cream before walking home.

        What was the first book that you read or that you remember being read to you?

        I’m pretty sure that it was a Hmong folktale that was either read and told to me by my grandfather. However, I do remember the first book that I fell in love with. It was The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein, which was read to me in the first grade. 

        What are you reading now or what titles are on your reading list?

        I’m really interested in health and nutrition right now so anything in that area, especially publications from Men’s Health Magazine based on the Eat This, Not That series of books.  I currently subscribe to Maximum PC and Wired Magazine. I'm also reading quite a few textbooks right now because I am taking classes to remain up-to-date on the technology trends.

        What's the best part of your job?

        I feel like I am a part of something great for our community.  In my current role, I have the opportunity to see and help promote the many resources and programs that we are fortunate enough to provide for our community.  As a taxpayer, it makes me feel reassured that my money is well-spent.

        Where are your roots?

        I was born in the jungles of Laos when my family fled from the brutal aftermath of the Vietnam War into Thailand. There is a picture of my mother carrying me on her back in an issue of National Geographic. We were being loaded onto a large truck with other families heading to a refugee camp after we reached Thailand. My family came to the U.S. from the refugee camps sometime in 1980 when we were sponsored by a nice family in Denver, Colorado. We moved to California and eventually settled in Fresno, where I started kindergarten and learned English. I graduated from Fresno High in 1998 and went to Fresno State, receiving my Bachelor’s Degree while working at the Cedar Clinton Branch.

        When I'm not at work, you can find me.

        Relaxing and traveling with my beautiful wife. (Oh yeah, and also practicing being a Ninja).

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      • Jeanne Johnson
        Principal Librarian,
        Branch Services Manager


        Jeanne Johnson

        How would you describe your current job?

        I supervise a group of very dedicated people who are giving their all to provide quality services throughout all the branches of the Library.  I also have the pleasure of working with the Administration Team and have admiration for this group in their efforts to steer our library toward the future.

        What would most people be surprised to learn about you?

        I was a friend of an infamous Fresno murderer.  His name was Max Franc and he was my professor when I attended graduate school at Fresno State.  I also knew him as a customer of the Politi Library where I worked in the 1980s. I was shocked to read the newspaper when he was arrested.  When the judge handed down his life sentence, he called him a ”Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde”.  I knew the Dr. Jekyll .

        What was your very first paid job?

        I babysat for .50/hour when I was a teenager.  During college I worked as a summer YMCA Camp counselor.  (I think the pay was $50/week.)  When I attended library school, I worked in the university archives for $1.65/ hour.  My first full time job was as a school librarian in Evanston, Wyoming.  My salary for this job was $7,200/year.

        Why did you decide to work for the library?

        I got a BA in history and did teacher’s training.  After completing my student teaching, I decided that I really did not want to become a teacher.  There was a library school at my university and it seemed like an interesting profession to pursue.

        What is your most memorable accomplishment during your library career?

        My most memorable accomplishment was participating in the first Big Read in 2006. We were one of only 7 organizations in the country that were picked to be in this pilot program to encourage a community to all read the same book.  That year it was To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. I went to Washington DC to the National Endowment for the Arts training.  After the conclusion of the grant, I was invited to go to New York City to Carnegie Hall and it was announced that the Big Read pilot project was a big success and the program was going to be continued and expanded.  We’ve held a Big Read nearly every spring since then.

        What is your first/favorite library memory?

        One memory was at the Leo Politi Branch Library.  We had no public computers back then and I decided to have a fundraiser to earn money to buy computers for Politi.  I gathered together a community committee to organize a historical fashion show and doll exhibit.  The Fresno Bee assisted us by featuring this program in the newspaper the day before it was to occur.  We had over 350 people attend the event and we were able to raise enough money to buy Politi its first two public computers.

        What was the first book that you read or that you remember being read to you?

        The first book I remember being read to me is Song of the Swallows by Leo Politi.  Isn’t it wonderful that I would then have so many great years working at the Library’s branch named in his honor, and also meet Leo Politi several times during his visits to Fresno?

        What are you reading now or what titles are on your reading list?

        In September, my husband and I visited Eastern Europe and Germany.  Since I returned home, I have been reading World War II memoirs.  I am currently reading Berlin Diaries, 1940-1945 by Marie Vassilchikov.

        When I’m not at work, you can find me…

        Attending community activities or walking my beloved beagles, Woody and Summer, around our Madera Ranchos neighborhood.

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      • Russell Noland
        Library Assistant I,
        Community Bookmobile


        Russell Noland

        How would you describe your current job?

        I’m a part time Library Assistant 1 and Driver for the Community Bookmobile.

        What would most people be surprised to learn about you?

        I play piano, guitar, mandolin, mandola, flute, pennywhistles, hand drums, bodhrán... etc. I’m founder and manager of the local Irish band, Songs 4 Pints, for almost 9 years. I just completed my first season performing with the Woodward Shakespeare Festival (2012) and picked up the mandola in two weeks. I grind my own homemade curries. I’m a certified massage therapist. And I can do the splits.

        What was your very first paid job?

        If you don’t count working on my family’s walnut orchard, then my first job would be working in my neighbor’s almond orchard.

        Why did you decide to work for the library?

        1. Books smell awesome.
        2. I’ve always loved to lend people the right book they need at that moment – to just set it in their path and walk away.
        3. The idea of grading papers at home did not sound pleasant to me.

        What is your most memorable accomplishment during your library career?

        I led two Team-Building Workshops at the 2012 Annual Library Meeting where we all formed a drum circle and created some great music together. November 28th will be my one-year anniversary working for the Library and I feel very honored to be entrusted with such a task.

        What is your first/favorite library memory?

        It’s not one specific book or one staff member that helped me. It’s just that feeling of walking into a sanctuary. It’s a sacred space. It’s like walking into a church. I didn’t understand it when I was little, but I remember feeling it.

        What was the first book that you read or that you remember being read to you?

        My parents had a set of children’s books that were all fictional stories about famous people throughout history. Every single one of them had an imaginary friend and a moral. Louis Pasteur stands out in my mind at the moment.

        What are you reading now or what titles are on your reading list?

        I’m reading The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman and going through that series. I have also assigned myself a lot of homework on learning more about Irish folklore. I’m considering incorporating storytelling into my band’s performances. I have several Joseph Campbell books lined up. I also read spiritual texts from any and every religion. Science books! So many subjects!

        When I’m not at work, you can find me…

        Practicing with my band, studying Irish Gaelic, watching Netflix, cooking dinner and enjoying an exquisite beer with my girlfriend, and packing a bag of books, my iPod, and riding my trikke (look it up) to a restaurant to read for a few hours.

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      • Robyn Aguiar
        Librarian,
        Sunnyside Regional Library


        Robyn Aquiar

        Describe your typical day on the job.

        My current job is Librarian at Sunnyside Branch Library. I am responsible for overseeing the daily operations of the branch and serving the Sunnyside community.

        What would most people be surprised to learn about you?

        Most people may be surprised to learn that I'm a bit of an Anglophile. I find most history, culture, and geography of England fascinating and I hope to take a vacation there next year.

        What was your first paid job?

        My very first paid job (besides babysitting) was as a hostess at Burger King.

        Why did you decide to work at the library?

        Before working for the library, I held many different jobs including Data Transcriber and Phlebotomist. When I was looking for a change, I wanted to work in a plant nursery or a library. This was in 1999 and the test for Library Assistant came up right away and I applied. I was thrilled to get hired and started at the Pinedale Branch.

        What is your most memorable accomplishment during your library career?

        My most memorable accomplishments may be some physical changes I made at Cedar Clinton Library where I have been for the past year. When new staff comes into a new location, they are able to look at the environment with fresh eyes and fresh creativity. Change doesn't always have to be a bad thing.

        What is your first library childhood memory?

        I remember using the school library when I was in Kindergarten and first grade. I adored the library and was an avid reader and I incurred fines, even then!

        What was the first book you read or you remember being read to you?

        Captain Kangaroo read many terrific books to me and one of my favorite was The Story About Ping by Marjorie Flack and Kurt Wiese. So I would say to parents not to discount others reading to their children whether in reality or virtually.

        What’s on your reading list now?

        I am an eclectic reader and the beauty of working in the library is being able to see a wide selection of material come my way. I am currently reading What Would Jesus Think by Mary Whelchel, recommended to me by another librarian. It's a life changing book regarding how our attitudes affect our actions. I have to say that while I like fiction very much, especially children's fiction, I love non-fiction and biographies.

        When I’m not at work, you can find me… 

        When I'm not at work you can find me gardening in my backyard, decorating the interior of my house, or playing with my grandson Seth.

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      • Raelene Fleming
        Senior Library Assistant,
        Auberry Branch Library


        Raelene Fleming

        Describe your typical day on the job.

        I’m busy with customers, staff schedules, collection management, building maintenance - along with work for the committees I’m currently on like the Summer Reading Program “Dream Big” Pinterest account. And I enjoy working on the library website for kids!

        What would most people be surprised to learn about you?

        I think customers are surprised that I don’t read fiction. I’m actually a big non-fiction reader - arts, crafts, decorating. And I love children’s picture books. I enjoy the illustrations. I would love to write and illustrate books for little ones…maybe someday. In high school, I had a drawing displayed at the Fresno Art Museum. I felt very honored when my high school art teacher, Fresno artist Robert Ogata, chose my drawing for the exhibit, and also chose me as the recipient for the art scholarship when I graduated.

        What was your first paid job?

        Like many teen girls, I was a babysitter. It was a lot of fun and I got paid for it. This is when I first started reading to children.

        Why did you decide to work at the library?

        When we started our family, I would bring the kids to story time at the Auberry Branch Library. We were weekly library users. So, when the librarian asked if I was interested in working there I jumped at the chance. I was hired as a Library Assistant II in the mid-1980s. It was fun to fill-in when the librarian was on vacation or needed extra staff to help out. We moved out of state and returned in the late 1990s and when I heard there were openings again I applied. I was hired as a Senior Library Assistant in the Youth Services Division in 1999, and then in 2010, I was reassigned to the Auberry Branch Library.

        What is your most memorable accomplishment during your library career?

        During my time in Youth Services, I took over all of the youth graphics from our library graphic artist who was very busy. I taught myself how to use the Adobe Creative Suite software, and through the years created a lot of bookmarks, library literature, booklets, and all the publicity for our youth programs and outreach. I really enjoyed being in touch with my creative side.

        What is your first library childhood memory?

        As a young child, I can remember going to the Central Library and visiting the Doris Gates Children’s Library. I remember walking up the stairs on the west end of the building to the Sarah McCardle Room for a children’s program. I still have my original yellow library card from 1966 with my dad’s signature. When I came across the card a few years ago, I asked my dad if I ever lost a library book would he have paid for it. He answered no!  

        What was the first book you read or you remember being read to you?

        I can remember reading the Dick and Jane books in school, and I actually liked them. I see they have reprinted some of them and the Library has some of them if you’d like to reminisce.

        What’s on your reading list now?

        At this moment I’m reading Deliciously G-Free, along with other gluten-free cookbooks, Fabric-by-Fabric: One Yard Wonders, Homemade: 101 Beautiful and Useful Craft Projects You Can Make at Home, and other crafty, decorating books.

        When I’m not at work, you can find me… 

        These days, I’m probably at home with my husband doing our own version of Renovation Reality! But normally I love spending time with family, our three adult kids, their spouses, and children. So life is pretty full, and blessed indeed!

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      • Shonda Graham
        Library Assistant II,
        Clovis Regional Branch Library


        Shonda Graham

        Describe your typical day on the job.

        Along with my regular duties as a library assistant, I also coordinate children's story time and craft programs. My day can start out with story time for 0-3 year olds singing "If You’re Happy and You Know It" and end with an adult’s reference question about Fiji. You never know what you will learn in between!

        What would most people be surprised to learn about you?

        That I can belly dance. There are so many different forms of dance that fall under the term of belly dancing.  I have enjoyed learning about the different customs and cultures that "belly dance".

        What was your first paid job?

        My first job right out of high school was working for the Job Training Partnership Act (JTPA), a state funded program to help people without work experience receive on-the-job training.  My job was to process the applications and call the employers to see how the applicant was working out.

        Why did you decide to work at the library?

        I came to work for the library by accident. After having my kids, I was a stay at home mom, so I would go to the local library a lot. The Senior Library Assistant there encouraged me to volunteer in the GAB (Grandparents/Grandreaders and Books) program and do a story/craft time in the afternoon for the school age kids. I could plan story times, create crafts and be surrounded by books. The perfect job!

        What is the most memorable accomplishment during your library career?

        I worked at the Central branch in the Doris Gates Children's Library for a number of years. There is something magical about reading to a child. One story time, I had a small group of 10 kids.  None of them spoke English and few of them spoke the same language. In time, using lots of books with pictures, and a weekly practice of writing letters and numbers, we finally made it through the sessions.  One day I noticed the kids were talking to each other with a little Spanish, Armenian, Hmong, Japanese, Thai, Hebrew, and English. They gave me a card they made. It said "Thank You. Because of your help, the children know enough English and how to write their ABCs and numbers to attend school.” I was proud to be a part of helping prepare these children for life.

        What is your first library childhood memory?

        I grew up in a small town in Natchitoches Parish, Louisiana.  The only library was in the town of Natchitoches. The library was right next to Cane River.  I loved to go to check out a book and sit there to read, feed the ducks and watch the boats go by.

        What was the first book you read or was read to you?

        The first books I ever read were Harry the Dirty Dog and Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile.  The "Reading is FUNdamental" program came to my school and gave out books to the kids. I would make my brother and my parents listen to me read those books over and over. I started my storytelling career at an early age!

        What's on your reading list now?

        I’m reading the Scotty Bowers’ bio Full Service, The Steampunk Bible, Steamed: a Steampunk Romance, and I'm rereading the Scarlet Pimpernel. I'm a huge mystery fan.

        When I'm not at work, you can find me...

        On a family adventure!  We just load up, pack a picnic and explore the local mountains.  The foothills of Fresno County are as beautiful as any state park and they are right in my back yard and there is no admission fee. I love to find a rock in the middle of a rushing creek and sit and read a book!

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      • Connie Urquhart
        Innovation and Analytics Librarian,
        Central Branch Library


        Connie Urquhart

        Describe your typical day on the job.

        My official title is Innovation and Analytics Librarian, which is basically a fancy way to say that I use numbers and technology to tell a story. It’s my job to look at our current statistics and meld that with library trends around the country to recommend new systems, or to find ways for our Library to be more efficient - all of which pays off in better service to our community.

        What would most people be surprised to learn about you?

        My parents owned 25 acres of land. I grew up riding motorcycles with my brothers all around our property.

        What was your first paid job?

        My dad paid me one penny for each slug I killed in his garden. When I had one hundred pennies, my mom took me to the store and I bought one hundred Swedish fish candies. I am now a vegetarian!

        Why did you decide to work at the library?

        I love the idea of equal access to information for everyone, not just for those who can afford it.

        What is the most memorable accomplishment during your library career?

        I co-authored a book called Risky Business: Taking and Managing Risks in Library Services for Teens.

        What is your first library childhood memory?

        I had my picture in the local newspaper with my local library’s mascot, a tiger named the Book Prowler. He was wily and clever, just like our own mascot, Kit the Fox.

        What was the first book you read or was read to you?

        I can’t remember a time when books weren’t part of my life. My mom is a voracious reader and taught me how to read in the car between pick-ups of my five older siblings’ various activities. I asked my dad to read The Little Brute Family by Russell Hoban just about every night before bed. It’s still one of my favorite books, and one of my fondest memories of my father.

        What's on your reading list now?

        I just finished The Fault in Our Stars by John Green and sobbed for a good hour. Now I’m reading The Flame Alphabet by Ben Marcus.

        What's your favorite book?

        On my Goodreads account, I currently list 72 books as my favorite! It’s too difficult to choose just one. I rarely read books more than once, but The Lover’s Dictionary by David Levithan is one that I will read over and over again.

        What's the best part of your job?

        I love finding new technologies that will benefit our library community. It’s so fun discovering what the world is doing and bringing the best ideas back to our Library, all via the Web!

        Where are your roots?

        Bellingham, Washington. Halfway between Seattle and Vancouver B.C., and one of the most beautiful places in the world.

        When I'm not at work, you can find me...

        At home! There’s no place I’d rather be.

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      • James Tyner
        Poet and Library Kung Fu Master
        Senior Library Assistant, Gillis Branch Library


        James Tyner

        Describe your typical day on the job

        In one word - Hectic.  I think many people assume library work is very slow paced, quiet, with lots of time for reading.  I can tell you that’s not the case at all. I often equate working in the library to knowing martial arts.  I call it Library Kung Fu.  It’s active, fast paced, challenging, but very rewarding.

        What would people be surprised to learn about you?

        I am a published poet.  I discovered poetry almost by accident in college.  The class I wanted was full and the only thing that fit into my schedule was a poetry class.  After the first session, I was hooked. I graduated with my MFA degree in Creative Writing Poetry from Fresno State and my thesis, a book of poetry, was voted most outstanding thesis of 2009.
        I’ve published over 19 poems and won a number of awards. You can read some of my poems at Avatar Review and Winning Writers, as well as Coal Hill Review where I won the 2009 Coal Hill Review Chapbook Contest. I also have poems published in the following anthologies: The Working Poet and Autumn House Contemporary American Poetry. Here I am reading my poem Watching the News in Spain.

        What was your first paid job?

        My first paid job was at the Tower Super Market in the Tower District. I started off bagging groceries, but after a month, I was doing just about every job in the place. 

        Why did you decide to work at the library?

        As a young man, I traveled coast to coast and around the world – even living in Spain for a while. I  returned home looking for something with more stability. Library work sounded different so I thought I’d give it a try.

        What is your most memorable accomplishment during your library career?

        I love putting together library programs - everything from card games to poetry readings.  A few years ago, I developed a series of gaming programs - role-playing games like Dungeons & Dragons.  In the space of a year, these programs were so popular we usually had 60 people show up. In fact, these gaming programs were so popular the gaming company Wizards of the Coast sponsored me at a couple of library conferences to teach other librarians how to start their own gaming programs.
        Just last fall, I coordinated a very powerful poetry program entitled Legacy: The Mexican American Poetry Movement in Fresno. It featured Fresno poets Michael Medrano, David Dominguez, Marisol Baca, Kenneth Chacon, Blas Manuel De Luna, Maceo Montoya, and others.  People are still talking about it - the amazing poetry, all that incredible history in one room, and the great audience interaction.

        What is your first library childhood memory?

        My first visit to the library was with my Dad in Venice Beach, California. We discovered a huge stash of comic books in the children’s area. I was amazed that a library would have comics. I’ve been pretty much hooked on libraries ever since.

        What was the first book you read? 

        As a kid learning how to read, I found most of the books in school very boring.  Then I noticed a book with a monster on it, and a guy with a sword with a huge fleet of boats behind him. It was a children’s version of The Odyssey. I’ve been reading ever since.

        What’s on your reading list now?

        The Runaways - a graphic novel by Brian K. Vaughan.  It’s a new take on the super hero comic following a group of teens who find out their parents are actually super villains.  Even if you’re not normally a comic reader, you'll find this book mind blowingly good.
        Phantom Noise by Brian Turner is a book of amazing poetry.  Turner is a local poet who served in the Iraq war, and many of his poems take place there. 
        Some of my other favorites are The Crystal Shard by R.A. Salvatore - a book with great characters, action sequences and tons of heart to delight Hobbit fans everywhere. And one of my favorite poems is Two Pictures of My Sister by Dorianne Laux – a contemporary poem that will absolutely stun the reader.

        Where are your roots?

        I was born in Santa Monica, California, and raised in Venice Beach. I moved to Fresno when I was 12. My Mom was born and raised in Fresno and my Dad still lives in Southern California so both places are really home for me.

        When I’m not at work you can find me…

        Enjoying home life with my wife and baby.  But once a week, you can catch me gaming with friends at Crazy Squirrel game store. 

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    • December 2012 - Nance Espinosa

      • Nance Espinosa
        Special Collections Librarian/Government Documents Coordinator,
        Central Branch Library


        nance espinosa

        Give us a snapshot of your career at the Library.

        I started working part time for the Library in 1992 while attending Fresno State to become a teacher. I liked working at the Library so much I didn’t pursue teaching when I graduated. Instead I became a full time library assistant in the Government Documents and Reference departments at the Central Library. Eager to learn even more, I went back to school and earned my Masters of Library and Information Science in 2003. After I graduated, I was the Caruthers Branch Librarian. Then I returned to the Central Branch to take over Government Documents from my mentor Karen Aughinbaugh who was retiring. I am currently the Librarian in charge of special collections including our William Saroyan materials, government documents, genealogy, magazines, California history and local history to name a few.

        Why the Library?

        I initially wanted to be a teacher in the traditional sense. But I found out the Library could be my classroom and I could teach life long learning right here. Also, I consider myself somewhat of a bibliophile. I don’t just need to read books. I need to surround myself with them. Kind of like the ocean. I don’t need to swim in it everyday, but I’d like to be close to it. And while it might sound dry and dusty to some, I am passionate about government documents and making this wealth of useful information more accessible to everyone.

        Where are your roots?

        I was born at Fresno Community Hospital. Since then, I’ve lived in a lot of different cities in California; places like Malibu, Mountain View, San Jose, Lee Vining, June Lake, Santa Cruz, Capitola, Goleta, Reseda, Torrance and Van Nuys. You could say I’m sort of a California gypsy!

        What’s your latest up-and-coming project?

        I’m very excited about our collaboration with the Pop Laval Foundation. Their collection of local history photographs is fascinating. Over the next year, we’ll work with the Foundation to scan 1,200 images from their collection and then add those images to the Library’s San Joaquin Valley Photo Heritage Project. It’s important these records of family and community life are preserved before they are lost forever.

        What’s the best part of your job?

        I get to learn something new every day. As a reference librarian, and now the Librarian for the California History and Genealogy Room, I help people find answers to their questions. In the process, I always end up learning something new. In fact, I just discovered that in 1950 Tarpey Village was named after Irish immigrant Michael Francis Tarpey who had a vineyard on Clovis Ave. between Gettysburg and Ashlan. He also founded the Fresno Irrigation District.

        What’s your favorite book?

        My all-time favorite is 1984 by George Orwell. No matter when you read it, the book raises issues we’re still grappling with today. It’s timeless.

        What’s on your reading list?

        I am currently reading Call of the Wild by Jack London since it’s going to be our book for the Big Read in the spring. That’s leading me to read books about the California Gold Rush and comparing it with the Klondike Gold Rush. My guilty pleasure is the Vampire Chronicles series by Anne Rice.
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