Meet BenWhat I do at the library: As a library assistant, I usually help people with their circulation and account questions and needs. As of late, though, I've been working with Adult and Teen Services, helping with reference questions and, most excitingly, assisting High School Services Librarian Rachael Bild with teen programming.

How I turn outward: Community outreach is new to me, but this summer holds a couple of amazing opportunities to turn outward. A few of us are sharing an interest in hip-hop music and culture with Oak Park and River Forest High School students during our Tuesday afternoon Beats, Rhymes & Life sessions in June and July. Some of us also are working with business mentors and enterprising teens during Entrepreneur Academy, a six-week program that culminates in teens pitching their business concepts at a public competition for a share of $3,500 in seed funding.

My favorite "hidden library gem": My favorite gem is comprised of many parts: our online resource collection. I feel like I have skimmed merely the surface of our wide pool of digital resources. At the top of my list to explore, though, are and Mango Languages.

Something I love about Oak Park: I grew up in and around Oak Park, and the one word it brings to mind is "family." My elementary school (Longfellow) felt like family when I was a kid, and working at the library feels like a family now, one that includes both staff and the community we serve.

What I’m reading, listening, and watching to now: I am (slowly) making my way through The Fellowship: The Literary Lives of the Inklings, but I'm almost always reading classics and poetry. I've been listening (usually in my car and rather loudly) to the EP Alwasta and the instrumental album The Odd Tape by Oddisee. And my wife and I are catching up on season 5 of Person of Interest, but my favorite TV show right now is The Flash.

(May 26, 2016)

Meet more library staff members >