Meet our newest Featured Library Employee for the Missouri Library Association, Pam Wood!
What is your name, your library, and your role at the library?
My name is Pam Wood and I am the Stone County Library Youth Services and Outreach Coordinator.
What originally got you interested in working at a library?
A few years ago, my oldest son had just started college and I was still homeschooling my two younger children. I was looking for part time employment and thought a library position would be perfect because I love helping and interacting with people of all ages. I noticed online that a youth services position had opened at the Midtown Carnegie Branch of the Springfield-Greene County Library. I love reading and always loved reading books to my own children, so I knew any position that allowed me to host story times would be perfect. I worked at Midtown for just over four years and I’ve been with Stone County Library since February of 2020. Story time is still one of the best parts of my job!
What keeps you coming back every day?
I was born and raised in Stone County so I thoroughly enjoy serving its citizens. In my current position, I have the privilege of interacting with patrons of all ages during story time, art programs, summer reading programs, school visits, community outreach events, and while delivering materials to our homebound patrons. My job is full of variety so there is no chance of getting bored.
What’s challenging about your work?
Planning summer reading is always challenging! We have a top-notch youth services team and we all collaborate to plan summer reading programs. One of my primary responsibilities is to coordinate summer reading performances and library visits to our local schools. It has gotten easier each year but it’s still tricky because I have to tentatively book performers long before most of our schools know their summer school schedule. Thankfully, our schools and the performers we’ve worked are very flexible when schedules don’t work out quite as I anticipated.
Has your work made you either curious, or passionate, or awestruck about something?
I am passionate about treating all of our patrons with kindness and respect, regardless of age, gender, or lifestyle and even when dealing with difficult issues. We never know what kind of day someone is having and everyone deserves a greeting and a smile.
Who is one of your mentors?
My mentors are my three sons, ages 20, 22, 25. They are all so witty and unique and truly comfortable in their own skin. Recently, I was reminded of just how amazing they are . On July 26th, our youngest suffered the devastating loss of his girlfriend, the woman he planned to spend the rest of his life with, from injuries she sustained in a car accident. His brothers dropped everything and took time off work just to be with him and support him and grieve with him. I’ve always said they have each other’s backs but seeing that expressed in such a tangible, meaningful way was amazing.
What book, author, artist, show, or music are you engaging with this week, either personally or professionally? Persuade us in one or two sentences that we should pick this up, too.
This is VBS week, August 7-11, so that has consumed my evenings – in a good way! I’ve also been listening to City Spies by James Ponti. It’s a 2022-2023 Mark Twain Award Nominee and is so much fun. It’s fast paced and the characters are kids that come from difficult living situations and each have specialized talents – computer coding and hacking, amazing deductive reasoning skills, and sleight of hand skills to name a few. In this first book of the series, they end up in Paris, working with MI6 to stop a criminal mastermind. If you are looking for a fun, quick read, I highly recommend it!
Is there anything else you’d like to share with us?
One of the most rewarding parts of my job is attending community outreach events. If you’ve never had the opportunity, I would encourage you to attend an outreach event in your community. During the summer and fall, there are many outreach opportunities in Stone County. I love going to these events. It’s so rewarding to engage with our patrons outside of the library and talk with them about all the great programs and services we offer. And when the kids see us at an event, they make us feel like celebrities!
Would you like to nominate someone to be our next Featured Library Employee? Examples could be:
…a new employee you’d like to introduce
…someone with a unique job or on a unique career path
…an employee you find inspirational
…a coworker whose gifts you wish were more widely known
…someone who’s “an institution” full of interesting stories
…a role that has a new focus or is reaching a new audience
…someone you’d like to make more visible to potential employers
Submit name(s) and contact information, along with place of employment, to Shannon Mawhiney at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’ll do all the work of contacting; we just need you to connect us!