Taylor Brooks is the 2023 ALA Emerging Leader for NMRT!
Institution: Seattle Public Library
Job Title: African American Collection and Community Engagement Librarian
Brief Job Description: The scope includes the management of the African American Collection, including maintenance and amplification (developing new ways of thinking about the collection). The collection has over 10k items. Additionally, I have typical adult services tasks, including development for the adult fiction and non-fiction collection, information and reference work, and any professional development work expected of an early career librarian. Lastly, my job also involves community engagement. This is largely being an active member in the community (showing up at events and learning more about the history and connections in the Central District), developing and enriching community partnerships, and serving as a connector between community members and the organizations that serve them.
What got you interested in libraries?
I was drawn to librarianship through my desire to engage with my community. The idea of “engagement” has transformed over the years for me, at first it manifested as a desire to create a great deal of public programming, then as I moved into the academic libraries it was to teach and create helpful resources for students, and now in my current role I think engagement is more advocating and preserving narratives and histories. Libraries can do it all and being a librarian can change as you go on in your career.
What is one of your favorite things about NMRT?
The patience and constant support that NMRT has for their members. As librarians, we all know a lot about juggling a multitude of tasks every day. I know in my position that I find it hard to carve out time to do anything extra, in fact, I often end up losing things through the constant shuffle of daily tasks. However, NMRT constantly finds ways to support librarians regardless of their workload and time in the profession. The support at conferences and even just the consistency of outreach about their services are impressive for a round table. I never feel pressured to participate or that if I reach out, I will be ignored. I am so happy to be a member and would encourage others to join as well!
Do you have any advice for other new librarians?
I would say that it is so important to find a mentor or peer mentor in this field. I think having the proper guidance on projects or job opportunities is crucial. I would not be in the position that I am in without the mentors I met along the way, especially Twanna Hodge. I know finding the right mentor can be difficult. NMRT has a mentorship program, and I would recommend people consider participating. However, even taking a look around you and seeing which colleagues, supervisors, or community members would serve as a good mentor is a great start.