November 21, 2017

Heather McCue | Movers & Shakers 2015 — Change Agents

Heather McCue

vitals

CURRENT POSITION
Librarian, Children’s Room, Richland Library, Columbia, SC

DEGREE
MLIS, University of South Carolina, Columbia, 2007

FOLLOW
richlandlibrary.com/saving-money

Photo by Michaela Pilar Brown

Fiscally Fit

For Heather McCue, children’s librarian at Richland Library, early literacy is a passion. As such, everything she has done during her ten years on the job has been with the goal of enriching children’s lives and getting books into their hands. Experience has taught her, however, that “if you want a child to be literate, you need to have the family involved.”

After learning firsthand of the misfortunes many families in her community were facing, McCue worked to increase the financial literacy of Columbia’s populace. She led a team that won grant funding from FINRA (Financial Industry Regulatory Authority) and the American Library Association to develop Growing Savers, a series of seminars and workshops on financial literacy for children and families. She took the initiative citywide, persuading the city to tout it with a display wrap on buses. She engaged a multicultural theater company to create performances and videos that explored the emotional component of financial hardship and got the nationally acclaimed local band Lunch Money to write and produce a children’s song about money, “because it’s never too early to teach kids to save.” The grant ended, but McCue’s financial literacy workshops continue.

“I try to stress to parents that [regardless of a child’s age], it’s good to know about money and how it works,” says McCue. The grant also enabled staff to beef up the picture book collection with books about money and manipulatives like play money, play cash registers, games, and more.

“Heather takes the world by storm,” says Leslie Tetreault, children’s room manager. “She sees a need in the community and immediately moves to fill it.”

In addition to educating those in need about finance, McCue sought to help families further by providing access to services such as shelter, child care, and medical care. Together with the University of South Carolina’s Center for Research in Nutrition and Health Disparities, McCue helped establish an internship at the library for MSW students. She interviewed, hired, and trained grad students to work with library customers, and along with the interns she created an emergency services guide for the many who come to the library searching for assistance.

“We probably see more [customers in need] than in other branches because of our [downtown] location,” which is close to many agencies, says McCue. “If you can talk a mom at the checkout into taking five books home, or help someone else find where to shower or wash their clothes, it makes a huge difference.”

This article was published in Library Journal's March 15, 2015 issue. Subscribe today and save up to 35% off the regular subscription rate.

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Comments

  1. Padgett Mozingo says:

    Heather is amazing. She welcomes both my children to the library and always know just how to reach each one. Her impact on our community is tremendous.

  2. Joan Blalock says:

    Congratulations, Heather. I’m not at all surprised at your success.

  3. Hannah Majewski says:

    It’s because of Heather that I pursued my MLIS at USC and will graduate in May. When my 5 year old began to read, I was fortunate enough to have Heather assist me in finding books. Over the years, I’ve continued to use Heather as a resource for books. Her smile is contagious and her personality is addictive. You can’t help but love her as soon as you meet her!

    Congratulations, Heather. I can’t think of anyone more deserving of this honor!!

    • Hi, Hannah. KAne here! I just happen to read this informative post and saw your name! Just wanted to say, hi!