Interview with Charlene Clemons (part 1)

Today’s interviewee is Charlene Clemons, the Assistant Director of the Ellsworth Public Library. 

What is your favorite book, author, and genre?

Book: “Christmas In Maine” by Robert P. Tristam Coffin. The story reminds me of Christmases on my grandparents’ farm in North Penobscot.  Rereading it each Christmas brings back many fond memories of a simpler time when families spent holidays together enjoying each others company, conversation, good home-grown, home-cooked food, family games and the beauty
of nature around them.

Author: I really don’t have one favorite author. There are several that I read: Jack Higgins, Wilbur Smith, Sharon Kaye Penman, Kate Flora, Mary Kay Andrews, Robert B. Parker, Kathryn R. Wall, Thomas Kinkade…all depending on the mood I am in. I’m always looking for new authors to read.

Genre: At the moment I seem to be reading more mysteries than anything else, perhaps because I don’t have a lot of time and they are usually quick reads. I also enjoy family/generational sagas, biographies and history–particularly if I can relate it to family members on whom I am doing genealogical research.

During your time here at the library, what has changed the most?

Everything has grown. We have more staff now, we have more books, we have added DVD’s, and now Blu-Rays to what was, 20 years ago, a small collection of video tapes. We have moved from LP records to a music CD collection. We do more programming for both children and adults.  Circulation has more than doubled. And of course, technology has exploded.  When I started we had an electric typewriter, and one computer the public could use to look for books in other libraries on MaineCat. The World-Wide-Web arrived here before it did in many other libraries in Maine and from there it has blossomed into what we see today.

A section of the VHS, DVD, and Blu-Ray collection at EPL.

What has stayed the same?

The needs of the people who visit us, and not just for reading or listening materials. Very often we are the only people they see on a regular basis, in a sense we become their extended family. They tell us when new babies are born, when there is a new house, spouse, or pet in the family. And they come to share the loss of loved ones with us.

In your opinion, what is the most important service that a library can provide for its patrons?

The obvious answer is access to knowledge, however respect and courtesy are equally important in my opinion. You can provide all the information a patron needs, but if it is not done in a respectful manner and with courtesy, the patron does not have the same experience or leave with the same feelings towards the library.

Check back next week for part 2 of the interview.  Charlene will tell us about the Ellsworth Public Library’s genealogy collection and give advice to beginner genealogists!

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1 Comment

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One response to “Interview with Charlene Clemons (part 1)

  1. Pingback: Interview with Charlene Clemons (part 2) | The Lupine Librarian

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