Miss Jennifer was born in Oak Park and grew up in South Bend, Indiana. She came back to Chicago to go to college many moons ago. When she was little she loved to ride her bike to the Francis Branch library to read Betsy-Tacy and All-of-a-Kind Family books. Her other favorite books were Little Fur Family by Margaret Wise Brown, Harriet the Spy by Louise Fitzhugh, Who Needs Donuts by Mark Alan Stamaty, the Great Brain series by John D. Fitzgerald, and anything and everything by E.L. Konigsburg. When she is not reading she likes to spend time with her kids Freya and Theo. Her favorite color is green, and her favorite food is bibimbop. She has a freckle in her left eye. If you want to learn to dance the cha-cha, just ask her—she would love to teach you!
What I do at the library: I support full- and part-time staff in Children's Services, oversee the collection, help plan and promote library services and programs in the community, and generally make sure our department is running smoothly.
How I turn outward: The time I spend working at the desk really allows me to engage with our community. I have formed bonds with our youngest patrons and their caregivers checking in for storytime during the morning shifts, and I really enjoy connecting with elementary and middle schoolers during the busy after-school hours. Whether they're looking for books, computer time, homework help, or just to talk a little bit, I think being visible and available strengthens the kids' personal connection with the library, and helps them develop a lifelong love of libraries in general.
My favorite "hidden library gem": I love to escape to the Silent Reading Room on the Main Library's Third Floor.
Something I love about Oak Park: Beyond the history and physical beauty of Oak Park, I appreciate the true sense of community that we're so fortunate to share here. I can walk down the street and reconnect with people I've known for years. I also love that my kids have the benefit of growing up in a town they can navigate without necessarily having to have a driver's license or a parent on call to carpool. They can walk or bike to school, to the library, or to meet up with friends downtown. For me, the chance to develop that sense of autonomy as a young person is priceless.
What I’m reading, listening to, and watching now: Reading Elvis Costello's new memoir, Unfaithful Music & Disappearing Ink, has rekindled my love of his music, so I've been immersed in that lately. My daughter recently introduced me to the Hamilton musical soundtrack, which I am really enjoying. Finally, the second season of Fargo just started, and I have high hopes that it will be just as good as the first.
(October 30, 2015)