I like to stay busy
- Kristen Forbes
- The Times - Features
So says this Tigard librarian of her ideal job
(Kristen Forbes is a freelance writer living in Tigard. To view her blog, visit www.krissymick.blogspot.com.)
'I wasn't sure if I wanted to be a teacher or a librarian,' Tigard resident and Louisiana native Anna Bruce says. 'I knew I wanted to be in a field where I could continuously learn and have a lot of variety.'
After working as an assistant teacher in Germany for a year, she opted against teaching.
'I enjoyed it very much, but it was really the literature that I liked, so I wanted to continue with that,' Bruce, 27, says. 'This way, I get to interact with a lot more different people.'
She graduated with a master's degree in library science from Louisiana State University, got married and moved from Louisiana to Oregon - all in a period of one week.
'We were always intrigued by the West Coast,' Bruce explains. 'Growing up in Louisiana, it's incredibly hot, and you can't enjoy the outside very much. We liked what we heard about Oregon. It looked like a great place to be active.'
She and her husband first moved to Klamath Falls about three years ago, where she worked as the youth services supervisor for the Klamath County library system. Then, in September, they moved to Tigard and Bruce joined the library's youth services staff.
In typical Bruce fashion, she fit everything into a whirlwind week. Her last day in Klamath Falls was a Saturday and her first day in Tigard was the following Wednesday.
'I like to stay busy,' Bruce admits, 'which is probably why this is a good job for me.'
Bruce works a regular 40-hour week, but half her time is spent with young children and half her time is spent with teens. Her weekly schedule varies to cater to a combination of programs. She and another staff member work on a book club for fourth- and fifth-graders. She assists with a younger book club for first- through fourth-graders. She works with weekly teen programs. When needed, she substitutes for other staff members and works with patrons as young as babies and as old as teenagers.
'I have a different kind of job every day,' Bruce says.
The book clubs for different age groups are very different, Bruce explains. Her fourth- and fifth-graders recently read 'Whales on Stilts,' which Bruce describes as a silly book about a whale-human hybrid on a quest to save the world. When they finished reading, students were given the chance to create their own super-heroes. They dressed up and took pictures.
For the teen book club, the group typically reads a book and then watches a movie and discusses the adaptation from literature to film. They recently finished 'Where the Red Fern Grows' and will work on 'Whale Rider' next.
Other teen programs vary from an anime club to craft projects to get-togethers. There's a teen council and a teen magazine. The library recently hosted a popular 'Un-Valentines Day' party. Bruce assists with all of these events. Additionally, she is responsible for the nonfiction collections for children and young adults.
It takes careful planning, she admits, to stay on top of so many programs simultaneously. She sees her constantly varying schedule as both the greatest challenge and greatest reward of the job.
When Bruce is not working, she's still exploring her love of literature.
'I do a lot of reading,' she says. People think librarians get to read a lot at work, and that's never the case, so I have a big stack of books at home that I try to plow through.'
When she's not reading, she and her husband are exploring parks, eating at new restaurants and figuring out how to navigate through Portland's traffic.
'There's no traffic in Klamath Falls, so I spent quite a bit of time realizing that I left the house at the wrong time,' Bruce says.
She never has to worry about being late to work, though - Bruce lives close enough to walk to the library every day.
This, she says, is something she probably wouldn't have been able to do in Louisiana.
'I was there in June and tried to go early in the morning for a jog and thought I would be OK at 8 in the morning, but I came home completely drenched. It's already 90 degrees at 8 o'clock in the morning and 100-percent humidity. And I thought, 'This is why I moved to Oregon.''