I was blessed to have one grandmother who was a school teacher, “Nana,” and one grandma who just loved to read, “Mae Mae.”
They taught me to read well before kindergarten and it stuck. We read every book in Nana’s house and every book she could get her hands on at least twice before I started school. While Mae Mae would, and still does, constantly bring me books that she has found at a Goodwill or thrift store that she knows I will love.
When I started elementary school, I finally discovered a library. I was always the “librarian’s pet” from kindergarten on through college, and all my teachers were very supportive. I had a teacher in elementary school that would give me the whole day’s assignments at one time so I could fly through them and spend the rest of the day in the library. I even had a middle school math teacher that let me sit in the back of the class and read as long as I continued to make top grades on all assignments and did not bother other students.
I was also blessed to have a mom and dad that, even though they did not understand why I chose books over pretty much everything else, they always shared my excitement when I would tell them about an amazing book I had just read. They even bought me my first Harry Potter books before I even knew what Harry Potter was. The older I got, the more addicted to books I became. I even managed to marry a man who shares the same passion for reading that I do.
I have also always had a love for my community and how every person is unique. I obtained a degree in psychology because people and all their differences fascinate me so much. I never thought I would be able to combine my two passions into a dream job I did not even realize I had been dreaming about.
When I got hired at the Robeson County Public Library as the Pembroke branch manager everyone welcomed me like family. All supervisors were encouraging and other employees so friendly that it was a completely effortless fit. My favorite part of my job quickly became reader’s advisory. A patron comes in who either has never really enjoyed reading or is having a difficult time finding something new and interesting and I help them find something. Sometimes it takes a few tries to find them something they love, but I get a rush when they come in after a good book looking for me so we can talk about it.
Another important part of my job, that I’ve came to love, is helping others find jobs. I help patrons set up their resumes or learn to use the technology that is so often required now to apply for jobs. Sometimes it takes months of helping someone, but it is all worth it when they come back to tell you they finally got a job.
I have always been an introvert to the point of social awkwardness. This library system and being surrounded by the things I know and love gave me the confidence to blossom. I find so much gratification and contentment being here that I know I have found my niche.
I also realized that to stay relevant in the library scene and better serve my community I would need a master’s degree. So with the support and recommendation of my family, director and coworkers I applied to East Carolina University’s Masters of Library Science program and got accepted, I start classes this August and cannot wait to learn new things to bring back to our patrons so I can be what they need me to be and be able to help them more adroitly.
Magnolia Vest is the branch manager at the Pembroke Public Library. She can be reached by calling 910-521-1554.