NMRT Member of the Week Spotlight: Jenny Cole

Jenny Cole

Burlington Public Library

Teen and Adult Services Librarian

What’s your job like?

As a librarian in a small library I do a bit of everything, but I spend most of my time preparing and presenting programs for teens and adults that run the gamut from book clubs to STEM programs to community festivals. I also develop and maintain several of our collections including teen fiction, movies, and music.

What are some things you like about your job or working in libraries in general?

When I started my MLIS program I thought I would be a children’s librarian but my career hasn’t moved in that direction – and now I’m actually happy about it! I enjoy the variety of opportunities that working in a small library offers, which has allowed me to discover that I’m really passionate about teen services. Working with teens means that sometimes I’m listening to them talk about their friend drama or their favorite anime; other times I’m suggesting books based on their favorite YouTuber or hosting fandom events. There aren’t a lot of afterschool opportunities for teens in my community, so I work to make the library a safe and welcoming space where they can be themselves.

I am also lucky to work in a library with great colleagues and a supportive administration. My library director encourages us to experiment with new program and service ideas, which allows me to take risks and try new programs that sometimes really take off, such as our fabulous Quidditch Fest.

What’s a project or committee you’re working on right now that you’re excited about?

I collaborate with one of our children’s librarians to put on Quidditch Fest, which is a Harry Potter-inspired festival that invites Muggles of all ages to play Quidditch and attend Hogwarts (in the form of a carnival). What started as a simple Quidditch demonstration has grown into a festival that drew 2,000 attendees last year, which is huge for our town of 8,000.I’m a huge Harry Potter nerd (Slytherin librarians represent!) so plotting ways to make Hogwarts come to life hardly feels like work.

What is one of your favorite things about NMRT?

I love the instant sense of welcome and the opportunities open to new librarians in NMRT.

Do you have any advice for other new librarians?

Taking on projects outside of your comfort zone can be scary but it is one of the best ways to grow! Before planning Quidditch Fest I had never managed such a complicated project, but every year I learn from my mistakes and the process gets a little less intimidating.

NMRT wants to feature YOU in our NMRT Member of the Week Series. Nominate yourself or one of your amazing NMRT colleagues here: ow.ly/1umy30deke0

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