TADL Staff Spotlight: Mary Fraquelli

What is your role at the library and how long have you worked for the library?
I am the Manager at Kingsley Branch Library of TADL. I started working as the Branch Manager since the Kingsley Public Library joined TADL as a branch library, in 1999. However, my employment at Kingsley Public Library began in June of 1996. So, twenty-two years serving the area residents of the Village of Kingsley at the library.

Have you always worked at a library?
No. I originally worked in the business office of the Traverse City Osteopathic Hospital doing purchasing and payroll.

So, how did life bring you to being the Branch Manager of the Kingsley Library?
When the Osteopathic Hospital closed in 1995, Kingsley Public Library was looking for an employee to help with business functions, etc. A short six months later, KPL’s Director accepted the library position at Kingsley High School, and I suddenly found myself appointed co-director by the KPL Board along with my colleague, Jennifer Drabek.

It was a crazy experience. I had to learn everything the hard way, including attending the ten-day “Library Boot Camp” paraprofessional certification training through the Library of Michigan.

What’s your favorite thing about the library?
I love interacting with the children. Leading storytime was my favorite thing, but it’s something that I seldom do anymore because we have other staff members leading that programming now. I just love interacting with people. I live in Kingsley, so it’s a lot of fun to serve my neighbors and this community.

What one thing has changed the most during your career at the library?
Technology has changed so very dramatically. It’s a challenge to keep up to date on the current technology, mostly because the public often comes to the library for assistance. So, it’s sometimes hard to stay ahead of public knowledge.

When the economic recession happened in 2008, we helped a lot of patrons with job searches and resumes at the library.

What was your best day working for the library?
Oh, that’s easy! February 2009, just walking through the new Kingsley Branch Library building and feeling a sense of pride for the community. The Kingsley Friends of the Library were so passionate and persuasive raising the money for the new library…they paid cash for the building!

The former Kingsley Public Library was 800 square feet, at the back of John’s Auto. We were only open four days a week, with two staff members. All of our programs had to be held off-site. So, the new library building, with a community room, was a wonder!

What do you enjoy in your personal time?
I own horses, and really enjoy them. My husband and I like to go camping and ride our bicycles on local bike trails. Plus, we love to visit our granddaughter in Florida.

What’s the best kept secret about Kingsley Branch Library?
I’ve always said that we’re a small library, with BIG service! There’s no reason that we can’t help a patron find what they’re looking for. With the resources of Traverse Area District Library, inter-library loans, or the Michigan e-library (MelCat)…the library can bring a world of resources and information to anyone, even in the Village of Kingsley.