A librarian shares life of working with children, families


RACHEL SUN | The Daily Evergreen

Librarian Kathleen Ahern knows middle and high schoolers that came to parent-child classes when she began.

RACHEL SUN, Evergreen reporter

Name, age: Kathleen Ahern, 61 years old

Occupation: Youth services librarian at Neill Public Library

Could you tell me about your job?
“I’m charged with all the programs and the materials that apply to children birth through 17-years-old, as well as related parenting and caregiver materials.”

What is your favorite part about your job?
“Hands down, my favorite thing is being able to interact with the kids, families and teens. I’ve been at this library for 15 years, so when I came to this library, I started a program for babies and their parents. Those babies that I literally held in my arms 15 years ago are now in middle school and high school. Even though Pullman is a really transient community, many of those kiddos are still here and have come to the library over the years, and so it’s been really lovely to be part of their literacy over the years and continue to do so now that they’re teenagers.”

What kind of programs do you work on daily?
“Each week at the library, we have two programs for babies from birth to two years old called ‘Mother Goose.’ We also have a weekly story time for kids two and three, and we have a weekly story time for preschoolers three to five. I do four programs a week year-round. At other times of the year, we have additional programs, and in the summertime, we do about 56 to 60 programs in a six-week period for the kids and teens.”

How long have you been a librarian?
“I’m in my 15th year here, and this is my 21st year being a librarian. I worked at two public libraries before I came here, and before I became a librarian, I was a public school teacher for 20 years. I taught regular education kindergarten through third grade, and then I spent about 13 of those years in special education.”

What made you decide you want to be a librarian?
“I absolutely was passionate about books in the classroom. For example, I had no textbooks in my classroom, I taught everything off of children’s literature. So, I was passionate about books, and I was passionate about families and communicating the importance of literacy, and so it seemed like a good fit to work as a librarian.”

Have you always loved books?
“Even as a kid, I loved them. I lived in a very rural community as a child, so we didn’t have a public library, but we had the book mobile that would come by, and then once a month, we would go into our what we called ‘the city’ to go to our public library. I’ve always loved books and loved to write as well as read.”