Meet Your Neighbor: Livia Lewin |

Meet Your Neighbor: Livia Lewin

Seth Lightcap/Sierra SunLivia Lewin


The job. We’d been planning to move up here, and this job came along. We jumped on the job and moved our moving timeline up.

I’ve been a librarian for 13 years.

I started out in a hospital library in Philadelphia, and then I worked for a Web start-up in the Bay Area. Then I discovered public libraries, and I’ve been in public libraries for nine years ” mostly in Marin County.

You get to talk to different people all day long about different things. It’s a great job. And I get to be around books, which is cliche. I don’t actually like books [as physical objects], I like the things in books. I like what books have in them ” more than a book as an object that you’re supposed to revere. Books are meant to be used.

Probably. I think one that I find myself rereading a lot, because I like it so much, is a book called, Sparrow, by Mary Doria Russell. We find life on another planet and we send people there to find out who’s there. And it’s just about culture clash, space travel. It’s a really great book.

I do whatever everyone else on the staff does. We check books in and out. We make suggestions to people. I do story-time on Thursdays. I do some computer trouble-shooting.

No. I’m good at dramatically telling a story. I do a voice for a page, and then I turn the page and forget the voice that I was using. So I do fun sound-effects, and dramatic reading.

Public libraries are a real microcosm of the community. We actually get the whole spectrum of the community coming in. I don’t know any other job where you get that, except maybe a grocery store. I feel the role of the public library is lifelong learning, and I see people approach that in different ways. People coming in, and looking for different things. And up here we get lots of visitors coming in. I like being able to promote the area to them.

The people here are so nice. The customers that come to the door are friendly, and polite and happy to have a library and be supportive of it. It’s the friendliest library I’ve ever worked in.

We’re always striving to make it better in the sense of what can we provide more of that people want. It’s all the selection process of should we order this book, or that book. It’s really trying to figure out that people want book A instead of book B. We’re getting new computers and better Internet access. That’s sort of our new excitement. In the near future, we’re hoping to have wi-fi [wireless Internet] in the new year.

I’m a very fast reader. I think I read the Harry Potter book in about six hours.

Not as much as I’d like.

Just how beautiful every day is. It doesn’t matter what the mood is, or what the weather is, if I have to transport myself from place A to place B, there’s always something that catches my eye and makes me admire the beauty of this place even more.

I fit it pretty well today. My hair is in a bun. I wear glasses. I can laugh at it. I think every profession has a stereotype and ours could be worse. And I try very hard not to say, “shhhh” too much.

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