I grew up in central Delaware, spending the majority of my childhood in libraries and museums. I spent more time doing research, writing, drawing, and daydreaming than I ever did playing sports with friends. Most of my friends were nerds, so it worked out well.
I spent the first three years of high school within Howard High School of Technology's walls in Wilmington, Delaware. There, I developed a broad (and lasting) passion for computer technology. By the age of 17, I took and passed several computer networking certification exams, making me the second youngest in my class. I was a certified CompTIA A+ computer technician and a Cisco Certified Network Associate Routing & Switching (CCNA) specialist. I had also begun working toward finishing my Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer (MCSE) but transferred to Middletown High School before its completion. I graduated from Middletown High School in May of 2002, in the upper levels of the class.
At Wesley College of Dover, Delaware, while I worked toward my undergraduate in English Literature, taking particular interest in the American Gothic and Romantic periods. For me, the American Gothic and Romantic writers became a lifeline; those time-periods' values and morality have become more than just words. To me, the Army creed of Loyalty, Duty, Respect, Selfless Service, Honor, Integrity, and Personal Courage is found throughout the writings of Edgar Allan Poe, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and Washington Irving. And as a result of intensive study, I incorporated those values into my daily life.
During my graduate year at Long Island University's C. W. Post Campus, I had never intended to take a public library class as I could only ever see myself as an archivist--but I'm so happy I did! I fell in love with working with and educating the public in libraries. There is nothing more satisfying than realizing that you make a difference in someone's life, even if it's just a small difference. And you get to do that every day! While in graduate school, I worked as a graduate assistant and an archival intern. I still love archives and records management and have found ways in my current position to combine the two with my love of public librarianship.
St. Tammany Parish Library
I moved to Covington, Louisiana, in February 2009 and worked as a librarian for St. Tammany Parish Library until the end of June 2013. It has been an incredible experience, one that has allowed me to grown and develop my skills as a librarian, a researcher, a teacher, and to develop a real passion for library outreach. I took over as the Genealogy Librarian in July of 2011. During my time there, I developed programs to educate patrons on genealogical research basics, reached out to local genealogy and historical societies to create a shared ideology, fostered relationships with several governmental organizations, and learned about the fiscal responsibilities of running a specialized collection. It was an exhilarating experience, one that has helped fuel my passion for education, outreach, and advocacy.
Central Mississippi Regional Library System
In July 2013, I became the G. Chastaine Flynt Memorial Library branch manager, part of the Central Mississippi Regional Library System. CMRLS, as it is known across the state, is a rapidly growing system that is leading the way for Mississippi public libraries, and I am honored to have been a member of their team. Their vision and their goals were similar to mine, and I used my time with them to further my understanding of community/library outreach and advocacy by becoming a leader in our local community and library system. During my three years there, my team and I reached back out into the local community; we developed programs, educational opportunities, and general goodwill within the community, resulting in several large donations and new records for program attendance.
Maryland State Library for the Blind and Print Disabled
In June 2017, I had the absolute good fortune to join the Maryland Library for the Blind & Print Disabled team, serving as their Outreach Librarian (later Marketing & Outreach Librarian). The library, a Maryland State Library division, is a valued and trusted resource in the Maryland Library community. Serving the entire state and nearly 10 000 current patrons, the library's largest outreach goal is to expand its services to the approximately 100 000 people in Maryland that identify as print-impaired. To do this, the library needs a strong and dedicated team of professionals that work together to promote the library's services. For me, it is an opportunity to help build marketing, outreach, and advocacy program for a library that is tailored and specific to our demographic while honing my skills as a community leader. I am looking forward to the growth opportunities that lay ahead.
Outside the Library
Outside the library, I continue to grow and expand my interests. I enjoy writing both fiction and non-fiction, visiting cultural hot-spots, and exploring my current "hometown." When asked, I teach remedial English, offer free resume help to anyone who asks, and has worked tirelessly to continue my education. I am a strong advocate for mental health education and compassionate workplaces and actively promote a better understanding of anxiety. My Support Dog, Winston, and I travel together and take every opportunity to demystify the world of "invisible disabilities." I am an avid reader of not-good-for-you romances, trashy novels, and picture books. I love animals, having been the mother of a pet rabbit and a few Guinea Pigs, and now am the loving mother of Winston, my Emotional Support Animal. I'm a traditional geek and love all things Star Trek, Star Wars, Harry Potter, Disney, comic-book related, and anything else I can get obsessed with for a short while. I'm your all-around American girl!