Meet Katie Guerin of North Shelby Library

By KATHRYN ACREE

Director of Library Services and Elvis fan Katie Guerin at the North Shelby Library. Photo by Kathryn Acree.

There is no doubt that the North Shelby Library is a valuable resource for residents in our area.  More than just a place to check out a book, it offers multiple services for research, ways to enjoy music and movies and a meeting facility available for rent by businesses and patrons. We visited with Katie Guerin, North Shelby’s Director of Library Services since March of 2009.

How long have you lived in our area?

I’m originally from Nashville and attended Birmingham-Southern College for my undergraduate work. That’s what first brought me to Birmingham. I started working at the North Shelby Library about five years ago after completing my masters at the University of Alabama in both history and library information studies.

What do you enjoy most about living in Shelby County?

I love this area. It reminds me a lot of suburban Nashville, so it feels like home. Plus, the patrons I’ve gotten to know at the library are a diverse group and have become special to me. I couldn’t ask for a better staff to work with. We really function as a team.

What is your work week like as director?

It’s always unique. I interact with patrons and build ties with the community and surrounding businesses. I work to make sure our library is current with technology and a forerunner in what’s available.

What resources are you most excited about that the library is offering?

Our e-services are becoming more and more popular. We offer downloadable audio and ebooks, music and even language studies.

What aspect of service would you most recommend to a new patron?

Don’t ever be afraid to ask one of our staff to help you, whether it’s with using a computer for help in hunting for a job or making a reading recommendation. We are trained to help you, and every staff person behind a desk is a paid employee specializing in the area they work in.

What is your favorite genre to read?

I still enjoy young adult fiction. It’s the first area I worked in here at the library, and I still love when teen readers ask me for recommendations because believe me, I’ve read a lot of what’s out there.

Have you ever read a book that you thought would be terrible that surprised you?

The Jungle by Upton Sinclair surprised me. I had to read it in high school and just skimmed it to get through it. Later, in college, I really sat down and poured through it. It was absolutely amazing.

Who is your favorite literary character?

I’d say Scout from To Kill A Mockingbird. I was a bit of an ill-behaved kid like she is, so I can relate to her. That’s another one of those books that I read early on and only later appreciated what a great work it really is.

Looking around your desk, we have to ask…what is with all the Elvis stuff?

I’ll admit I love Elvis Presley. My great admiration is no secret. When I was younger I worked at a card shop that sold Elvis ornaments at Christmas and played his holiday music over and over. I got into his music even though he died a year before I was born. I find his life fascinating and have to laugh when teens visit my desk and ask, “Who’s that?”

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