TADL Staff Spotlight: Michele


What is your role at the library and why did you choose this career?

I am a Library Assistant in the Youth Services Department at the Main Library (Traverse City). My college degree and early career was in Elementary Education. After five years in a school classroom, I decided to look for other ways to apply my passion and skills for preschool and elementary education. As it turns out, the library is a great place to use those same skills and interests.

How long have you worked for TADL?

I started working for Traverse Area District Library in December of 1997, starting at the old library on Sixth Street and shortly thereafter moving to the (new) Main Library on Woodmere Avenue. So, I will be celebrating 20 years at TADL next month.

I began as a Substitute in the Adult/Reference department at the Traverse City Library on Sixth Street. When the new TADL Main Library opened, I worked in the Circulation department for the first ten months and then transferred to the Youth Services department. That was what I wanted, it felt like home to me.

What’s the your favorite thing about your role at TADL?

Because of my background in Elementary Education, I really enjoy watching the children grow up at the library as they develop their literacy and reading skills. I especially enjoy watching the process of learning. It’s very rewarding to see a child have that aha! moment.

My favorite thing is our Storytime programs. Now I sometimes get to interact with the children of adults that I first met as children themselves at the library. That’s the best!

How have Storytime programs changed during your career at the library?

The biggest change is that storytime is more interactive and engaging with music and movement. Not too long ago, storytime was mostly reading books to children at the library with the expectation that they would sit still and quietly listen to the narrator. Now, it’s more accepted that children will wiggle, and I think it’s great that we now accommodate for that. They may be actively or passively listening, you never know when a child will make a connection in learning.

Are there any things about library work that surprises you?

After 20 years of helping 4th graders with their homework, I’m constantly fielding new questions. You would think that the questions in 4th grade wouldn’t change so much over time, but they do!

Another surprise is that there’s been a sudden resurgence in reading The Black Lagoon series of picture books. These books first came out in the late 1980s, so I’m curious why the sudden interest, again?

What’s one thing about the library that you want our community to know?

You don’t have to visit the library to use the library! (Well, you do have to visit at least once in order to get your library card and setup your online account.)

The library offers so much through access to digital resources online and through apps: music, e-books, audiobooks, movies, magazines, comic books, homework help, research tools…the list goes on and on.

What’s one thing about you that people might be surprised to learn?

I am fascinated with the Great Halifax Explosion of 1917. In fact, I am going to the 100th anniversary of the maritime disaster this December (not a lot of people visit Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, in December). I’m not much of a traveler, but I put this event on my calendar three years ago and now I’m going. There’s a great nonfiction children’s book about the World War I event called Blizzard of Glass, which we have at the TADL Main Library.