As a teen, Denise spent her days after school at the St. Johns Library. She would see other teens from around the neighborhood, and they all became library regulars— huddling over new laptops on "teen lounge" nights and sharing stories with Janie, the youth librarian.
"Often nobody was at home, and the library became a calm and safe place for me to just be a teenager," said Denise. Visiting the library as a teen was more than a second home, it reinforced her desire to make working in libraries a career.
Today, Denise is currently serving dual roles for the library. For the past six years, she’s been an access services assistant at Holgate Library, assisting patrons with their accounts, helping coordinate the vast amount of library materials that are checked in and out each day, and training new library staff. The position also provided an opportunity for her to work with teens at the library, managing teen programming, running an active Teen Council group of 20 members, and mentoring more than 50 teen volunteers during the library’s annual Summer Reading program.
"I want to be the person that Janie was for me when I was a teen," she says.
Possessing both the experience of helping patrons in the library and a desire to help others, Denise was selected to help create a comprehensive training program for more than 400 staff and 200 volunteers on a new library software system that staff will begin using in May.
"I enjoy teaching and finding different ways to help people learn. Whether it’s working with the teen council or organizing classroom training for library staff, I want people to feel confident in what they do."
Currently in college working toward her Bachelor’s degree in psychology, Denise plans to pursue a master’s program so she can become a teen librarian.