“I feel like I'm a better person when I'm at the library.”
by Sarah Binns
Like most of our Spotlight volunteers, Heather Reed is many things: full time worker, full time student, and full time dog mom to her dachshund, Artemis. But unlike other featured volunteers who fit the library around their careers, Heather hopes the library will be her career. She is currently working toward a computer science degree at PCC, but afterward she'll apply to graduate school programs for a Master's in Library and Information Science (MLIS). “I'm hoping to go into archival work,” she says.
Heather has always been a reader. Growing up in Detroit, Michigan, she was taken to the library by her parents read for hours. . “That was the place I felt most at home,” she says. Heather translated her love for reading into a job, working for two years as a page clerk in Arizona before moving to Portland last year. “A hundred and ten degrees was just too hot for me!” she says about the move from the Southwest.
Heather “does a little bit of everything” as a branch assistant at Midland Library. She processes holds, shelves books, and works on the paging list. Best of all is the occasional interaction with patrons: “I like when I'm able to help people find things. I'm not able to help them a lot, but when I do it's really rewarding.” She can only fit in one shift a week between school and work, but wants to do more. “When you enjoy something that much, it doesn't feel like work. I feel like I'm a better person when I'm there.”
When I ask about her hobbies, she laughs like it's a foreign concept, given her busy schedule. She does collect antique teacups, though, and has about thirty, ranging in origin from Imperial Japan to England. “I like hand-painted ones,” she says with a smile, “those are the most unique.”
Getting her MLIS is Heather's goal, all inspired by her childhood at the library. “I feel like the library is the best place on earth. You should go in there and get the resources you need. If I can bring that to other people—what else can I ask for?”
Home Library: Midland
Most influential book: The Vampire Hound by Jim Hunt. “It's the book that got me into reading and it sparked my love for fantasy books.”
Favorite book from childhood: See above!
Currently reading: The Wheel of Time series' second book, The Great Hunt. “I hear everyone talk about Game of Thrones and I'm sure it's good, but I say 'Have you read this?! It came first!'”
Guilty pleasure: Manga.
Book that made her laugh or cry: “Probably the Harry Potter series is one of the most emotional” for her.
Favorite library browsing section: True crime. With her other favorite, fantasy, “Everything is pretty and interesting, but with true crime you find out about something you never knew happened.”
E-reader or paper: Both.
Favorite place to read: Outside. “Sometimes the wind will blow and it will match up to something in a book and it's hard to get that experience inside.”
Thanks for reading the MCL Volunteer Spotlight. Stay tuned for our next edition coming soon! Read last month's Volunteer Spotlight.