Marathon County Public Library is extending our observance of National Library Week (April 10-16) throughout the month of April by highlighting our employees through a series of staff profiles! Now through April 30, learn a little bit about the personnel at our nine MCPL locations, and feel free to give them a friendly "hello" next time you see them!
Name: Sharyn H.
Job title: Children’s Librarian
MCPL Location: Wausau Headquarters
Time Worked at MCPL: More than 40 years
What are some of your main job responsibilities?
I have the pleasure of working (and playing) with children, parents and caregivers. I do story times and plan other programs for children including the Summer Library Program. I also serve on the children’s desk where I assist patrons with reader’s advisory, locating items in the library and more.
What book transformed you, your way of thinking or of viewing the world? How did it change you?
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, which I read in high school. Growing up in a small all-white community with people who were less than accepting of people of different cultures, religions and races, this book helped reaffirm my belief that all people were equal and worthy of respect, love and acceptance; anything else was discriminatory and not acceptable. It also confirmed my decision in college to take advantage of an exchange program to attend an all-black/African-American college in Durham, North Carolina for a semester, which at times included personal experiences with reverse discrimination.
What’s your favorite part of your job?
Children and story time. I love the children’s hugs and smiles, their freedom to be themselves, their openness to learning, their joy and enthusiasm, their honesty and curiosity. I love the looks in their faces during story time when they are really engaged and enjoying the story, or during an activity that we are doing. It’s the best job in the world!
What is your ideal vacation? Where would you go and what would you do there?
I’d go to Ireland and England. I have been to Ireland before and would absolutely love to return. I loved the beauty of the landscape where there truly are many shades of green. The magic I sensed in so many places and enjoyed the friendliness of the Irish people, the pubs (yes Guinness does taste better in Ireland), the castles and historic buildings. On a return visit I would love to visit Northern Ireland and see some of the historical monuments and learn first-hand about the turbulent history of that area. I also would love to go to England for some of the same reasons and perhaps retrace the steps of authors like Shakespeare, Jane Austen, Elizabeth Gaskell and Charles Dickens and visit London, Cornwall, the Yorkshire area and tour Highclere Castle.
What motto or philosophy do you live by?
A simple philosophy that has served me well is actually one of my mom’s, which I heard her say many times and my children heard me repeat to them: “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.”
What food item(s) you absolutely cannot resist?
Anything chocolate, especially dark chocolate, is almost impossible to resist.
How do you think MCPL will continue to transform in the future?
As MCPL continues to grow and evolve it will increasingly be a magnet for people to grow, collaborate and learn. As society changes, public libraries change, but one thing remains central to their core: they are the ultimate welcoming democratic institution, open and freely available to anyone regardless of gender, race, religion or sexual orientation, with endless opportunities to learn and grow.
image credit: Image by Marathon County Public Library staff.