Library Assistant Extraordinaire
Job Description: Carolyn keeps the library going. She is the best library assistant that has ever drawn a breath. She takes care of everything from the front circulation desk to cataloging new books.
Hometown: Slippery Rock, PA
Hobbies: Reading Amish Stories, Loving Her Grandkids, and Gardening.
How did you end up in Slippery Rock?
Well, I was actually born here. We lived on Elm Street on the other side of West Hall. When I was in the third grade, my parents wanted to take my brothers and sisters and I away from the “evil” influence of the college. So, we moved three miles away out towards route 108, near Interstate 79. That’s where I grew up in the Slippery Rock school system.
What is your favorite thing about Slippery Rock?
I think I always knew this, but as we’re now living with this pandemic I’ve come to appreciate the smallness of the town. I mean, we joke in the summertime when the majority of the University students leave and we have a sigh of relief that we now have our small town back. Then we all get geared up in August when the students return. I also think that it’s because I know so many people in this small town. Even if we go to Butler or New Castle we always run into somebody that we know.
What does community mean to you?
To me, community means the area I’m in. Relatives, good friends, acquaintances, even people who irritate me, yet they’re all a part of my community even though I may not see them everyday. When I worked an event at the university, people would come back and would remember me. I have to stop and think for a while, but then it dawns on me who the person is, the type of relationship I had with them, and that I must have made some kind of impact on them for them to have remembered me. Within our library community there are those who walk in the door and know exactly what they want, and I help them, and then they go on their way. Then there are others who become a part of the library community because they’re looking for a certain type of help that I can give.
Do you have a favorite memory of libraries?
There was a furniture store across the road from where I lived. My brothers and sisters and I used to visit the book mobile which came every other week to the furniture store parking lot. Getting to go on the bookmobile bus and pick out my books and take them home was my favorite thing to do. We had a big maple tree that my dad had put cement inside the four huge limbs. I could read my books there and people would leave me alone. After the book mobile route ended, there was a paperback library started at the park commission, and I used to go there. When I got married, I used to bring my daughter into that small library. It grew from paperback to hardcover books. I would bring both my children in there and myself (I used to read a lot).
What is your favorite thing about the SRCL?
My favorite thing is that even though we would be considered smallest in size, what we can offer is huge, because of the fact that we’re part of a nine-system library. What we don’t have on our shelves we can get for you from one of the other libraries in our system; or we can get it from a library in New Castle or Pittsburgh. We were temporarily shut down when the pandemic came through, but now we’re starting back up again. For example, we don’t have a genealogy section; however, we have people come in here looking for genealogy information. We can direct them to different churches or organizations to assist them or direct them to the Butler library as they have a larger section on genealogy. So, I think that’s the better part -- knowing how to help somebody.
What are your thoughts on the library’s funding being entirely donation based?
Because we have a university right next door, people say “Why does this area need a community library?” Well, one reason is that we serve everyone in our area including children. Parents who homeschool will come in here and ask if they can get specific books for teaching. We are able to say yes based on our generous donors. By volunteering here for the number of years that I did, I feel as though I have helped financially to operate this place, because of the fact that they didn’t have to pay me. It was only when they wanted me to have more responsibility that I agreed to be paid. When people drop off books to donate them, or they call to see if they can donate them, if we don’t need them here then we work with a bookseller! The money that some of them get from that keeps the lights on or pays the water bill.