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Meet Tualatin's new librarian, Jerianne Thompson

by: TIMES PHOTO: JAIME VALDEZ - Jerianne Thompson recently started her new job with Tualatin Public Library as its library manager.The Times sat down with the new manager of the Tualatin Public Library to talk books, her new job, her love of zines and her vision for the library's future. Here's what she had to say.

> I like the purpose at the library, and I like the meaningfulness of the work. Every day that I come to work, it’s always a little bit different and a little bit unpredictable. You never know what questions are going to come through the door, what information need is somebody going to have that you’re going to be able to help them with. Or what book is it that is the right book for that moment. So that’s always kind of fun, to not have that same day-in, day-out, rote, kind of job. But it is knowing that we are part of a public institution. We’re spending public dollars for the benefit of the community. And every day that I come in and I do my job, I’m impacting people’s lives in a positive way. And that’s not something everybody gets to say about their job.

> I am a Tualatin resident. I live here in Tualatin with my family, and I’ve got a son in the schools. So the library has got a personal place for me in my heart. This is my library as much as it is the library I’m in charge of.

> It’s an interesting transition. I’ve already been here, and I’m already familiar with the library, so I didn’t have to get up to speed like somebody coming in brand new would. But the position I came from is still vacant, so I’m still bridging two jobs a little bit.

> I’ve always been a library user, my whole life. We always went to the library regularly. I was a huge reader when I was a kid. But it was just kind of happenstance that when I was in college, I found out about this part-time job at the library. So I started working there, and I really, really enjoyed it. (After graduation), I worked as a reference clerk at a public library in a town about the same size as Tualatin. The library there a little smaller than our library, half as busy as the Tualatin library is.

Within a week of being on that job, I just knew, ‘This is it. There’s nothing else for me. This is where I want to be the rest of my life.’

> A zine: Probably the easiest way to think about it is if you took a blog and put it in print form. Especially for the more personal type zines, there’s more of a correlation there.

> The one zine I spent probably the most time on was called ‘Zine world: A Reader’s Guide to the Underground Press,’ and it was a zine that reviewed other zines. So it shared information about other zines that had been published, and news related to zines and publishing and mail and that kind of stuff.

When that zine was getting started, it was just around the time that we were all starting to learn what the Internet was. So we didn’t have Internet and email the way we do today. Unless you happened to be lucky enough to live in a place like Portland where there were independent bookstores that you could go and buy them. Certainly in Tennessee where I was, there was no way to just stumble upon that kind of thing. You really had to seek it out.

> Nobody wants to see us become an island in a sea of retail. But I think that city management has that understanding, too, and they want to be very protective of the library space and make sure that we have a good civic identity and presence that when you pull into the new Seneca Street, you know that this is the library, this is part of the city government here. It’s not just another offshoot of the retail.

> We really try to focus on programs that are about enrichment, related to lifelong learning, personal improvement, literacy, jobseeking. And we’re going to continue doing that kind of stuff.

> Our teen services are really excellent here. I think it’s one of the appealing things about our library — that we give the space that we give to the teens, the awesome programs that we run, and all the books and resources that we make available to them. And they come and they use it, which is just so great.

> I’m a little hesitant to say, ‘I’m going to do x, y and z.’ Because I don’t think it’s just about what I want to do. It’s about what the community needs are. So we need to be able to hear from the community — what they want. What we could provide to them that could be helpful. And it’s also about what the library staff and what the city staff would like to see happen with the library.



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