Friday, August 5, 2011

Ask The Librarian - Lyndsay Forbes

Much attention has been paid during the past year to our newly remodeled and expanded library buildings, but what would they really be without the wonderful people who staff them?  We will be doing a series of monthly interviews to help you get to know some of the people who make our library system extraordinary.  We begin with Lyndsay Forbes from the O’Neill Branch. 

What made you want to become a librarian and what do you love most about your job? 
 Lyndsay Forbes
C PL Length of Service :  5 1/2 years
Undergraduate degree from St. Anselm's
MLIS from Rutgers University

At first, it was figuring out what to do with a BA in English. I started out in academic libraries with the idea that if I didn’t like working in libraries, I could take some classes in another area and switch careers. Several years later, I’m still in libraries so it was a good fit for me.

I really love figuring out what people are looking for when they come to the library. Whether it’s someone trying to remember a title and vaguely describing part of a book, helping a student find resources for their project, giving someone from out of town a map, or seeing someone’s face light up with “this is exactly what I wanted” -- it's a great feeling.

What is your opinion of e-books like the Kindle?
I think e-books are fabulous. They're just one more way to read books. I’m glad that more publishers are making their titles available for the wide variety of e-readers that are out there. I know people worry that all the books are going to disappear or no one will use the library. I just think it’s another medium for materials, like audiobooks or DVDs.

I do think publishers and libraries need to find a system that works for both of them in terms of e-books. I’m not necessarily opposed to the idea of having to purchase a title again after so many uses by a library, but would want to have unlimited access. Right now, a title can only have so many users accessing it. Part of the beauty of an electronic medium is getting rid of that physical barrier. How great would it be to get to read that hot new title without waiting? That’s a possibility with e-books and it’s one I’d like to see become a reality.

What is something that people may find surprising about your role as a librarian?
I don’t go around shushing people all day. It’s a stereotype that won’t go away. Libraries aren’t necessarily the silent places people think they are. While you can find a quiet corner if that’s what you’re looking for, it’s more likely that you’re going to encounter some friendly noise and conversations when you come to the library.

What is the funniest thing that has ever happened to you at the library?
We had a program for summer reading here called “Barn Babies,” which is a sort of traveling petting zoo of baby animals. They were set up in the back hall here. Before the program started, I went down the hall to use the bathroom. The goat, who seemed very suspicious of me, followed me down the hall and all the way to the door. Despite my best efforts, I couldn’t get the door open without letting him in. I had to go back and get another staff member to hold onto the goat. Wrangling goats is just not something you would think you would do while working in a library.

There are always great things happening at the library! For more information on how you can get involved with the Friends of the Cambridge Public Library click here.

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