Portland resident began her new position in October

by: NEWS PHOTO: SCOTT JORGENSEN - Estacada's new librarian, Annie Sprague, poses in her favorite section of the facility. While making her 45-minute commute to work, Annie Sprague likes to listen to books on tape. The weekday habit is another example of the lifelong love of literature that Estacada’s newest librarian brings to the job.

Sprague started her stint in Estacada in October and said she’s enjoyed every minute of it so far.

“Everyone’s been so kind and welcoming to me,” she said. “I’m fortunate to have this position in such a community.”

A Portland resident, Sprague grew up in Eugene. She earned her bachelors degree in European history from Southern Oregon University in 2004, with the initial ambition of attending graduate school and entering the teaching profession.

Life had other plans for Sprague. One day, she walked into a county building in Medford and saw a poster recruiting employees for the library system. That led to a stint doing outreach for the Jackson County library system and organizing story time activities.

Drastic budget cuts caused the county to close its libraries. Jackson County’s system eventually re-opened under the management of a private company, at which point Sprague was hired back to a higher position than the one she originally held.

The national economy crashed shortly thereafter, and hit Sprague and her family hard. Her husband, Mike, is a homebuilder by trade. A lack of construction work in Southern Oregon forced him to commute to Portland during the week as she was pregnant with their daughter, Brooke, who is now 4.

Sprague was 8 months pregnant by the time the family moved to Portland. After a while, she decided to pursue a master's degree in library science from Emporia State University, and earned it last August.

Nowadays, Sprague can be found behind the Estacada Library’s reference desk, where she helps patrons track down their desired materials and assists with research. She also is charged with ordering new books for the childrens and teens sections.

It’s a natural fit for Sprague, whose favorite literary genre is high fantasy. Her favorite section of the library is juvenile fiction, and she said that the popular Harry Potter series is “one of my favorite things in the world.”

“I love my job,” she said. “It’s even better than I hoped it would be.”

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