February 17, 2018

Susan Paddock | Movers & Shakers 2003

Branching Out


A past chair of the Virginia Library Association’s (VLA) Paraprofessional Forum, Susan Paddock is clearly proud of the scholarship that group gives out each year to help a local talent pursue a professional degree. And she is even happier that, having taken up the cause, the VLA bestowed three such grants of its own this past year. But these programs are just part of a larger mission for Paddock that comes out of her personal experience: engaging paraprofessionals – whether they choose to go after a degree or not – with their professional environment.

As forum chair she attended VLA council meetings and there became exposed to work of the association’s other units. “You get a much broader appreciation of the role that VLA plays,” she says, “not only in helping local libraries but also in engaging with both state and local legislators and [dealing with] questions relating to intellectual freedom.” She realized she wanted to become more involved in those facets, transcending questions of whether or not one has an MLS. In the fall she was elected to Council as secretary and has been relishing the job.

This work, of course, is in addition to her job at Virginia Beach Public Library (VBPL). Beyond her reference desk duties, Paddock has provided Internet training to both staff and the public, developed reading lists on topics from gardening to teen girls’ self-esteem, and become, in the words of one co-worker, “resident expert on the local history and genealogy map collection.”

Both through VLA and at VBPL, Paddock continues to encourage all library workers to think of their place in the profession. She is part of “departmental strategic initiatives” trying to identify how to increase involvement in the profession and how to enhance staff skills. Paddock says she has seen a connection in her own work with VLA and the forum. “Association work is a great way to gain leadership and organizational skills that many people may not have a chance to use or develop in their day-to-day jobs.”




Current Position: Information Specialist II, Central Library, Virginia Beach Public Library

Degree: AB, Biology, Hood College, Frederick, MD, 1978

Association Work: Chair, Virginia Library Association Paraprofessional Forum, 2000 – 01