November 21, 2017

Sarah Flowers | Movers & Shakers 2002

Community Librarian

If you’re going to call anyone a “community librarian” rather than “library director,” Sarah Flowers would be a good choice. Her route to librarianship, in fact, was through the kind of community good works so many mothers perform while raising their kids–doing book talks in schools, arranging author visits, organizing book fairs, preparing reading lists, and working with kids in her church’s programs. When the district elementary librarian Flowers had been working with asked her how old her youngest child was, and Flowers replied that he’d be starting kindergarten in the fall, she suggested that Flowers consider library school.

Vitals


Current position: Community Librarian, Morgan Hill Library, Santa Clara County Library, CA

Degree: MLS, San Jose State University, 1992; MA in history, University of California-Berkeley, 1976

Active in: ALA, YALSA (Young Adult Library Services Association), Public Library Association, California Library Association

Flowers thought that made sense, since librarianship combined service to the community with her longtime love affair with words–she had also been writing magazine articles on topics like reading aloud to kids and dealing with their imaginary friends.

As one of those rare people who actually likes 13-year-olds, Flowers was a natural for a job in young adult services at nearby Morgan Hill Library, where she was responsible for reference, book talks, selection, and outreach to schools. She also found time to write video reviews and articles for School Library Journal and Voice of Youth Advocates and even several books for teens.

Now that she’s in charge of the library, she finds good use for the organizational skills she honed by serving teenagers while also keeping them under control (a far more challenging task than herding cats). Those years Flowers devoted to community service have also paid off, giving her credibility and good standing with local leaders as she works with them to plan a new library building and collaborates with the school district to create joint-use programs. She is indeed, in every sense of the term, a community librarian.

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