February 17, 2018

Eileen Simmons | Movers & Shakers 2007

Lolla palooza

Eileen Simmons, newly appointed director of the Everett Public Library (EPL) near Seattle, figures she represents a fair range of the Dewey Decimal System: she’s an ‘avid gardener, a sometimes knitter, a constant reader who enjoys antiquing, cooking, traveling, films, yoga, and hiking.’ Small wonder that she fell in love with librarianship, where her eclectic interests come in handy for building both library collections and personal connections with community members.

In her previous work for EPL, Simmons started a foundation to build a collection endowment fund, helped fund a digital local history collection, and initiated a variety of adult programs and special events. The splashiest of these is the street fair called LibraryPalooza, scheduled on the last day of summer reading.

Simmons invites the children’s museum, the animal shelter, YMCA, and other family-oriented groups to join librarians in providing booths and activities. There are balloons and freebies for the children, a fire engine, and street performers. Branch manager Liz Hawkins says it’s fun to watch families ‘stroll among displays arranged by Dewey number – genealogy enthusiasts might chat with family researchers, then move into the library’s Northwest Room, search the newspaper or ancestry databases, or browse the 929s.’ The event is already a favorite local tradition.

Now, as director, Simmons can build on the connections to local organizations and grow the endowment so the library collection can serve community interests almost as eclectic as her own.


CURRENT POSITION Director, Everett Public Library, WA

DEGREES MLS, Indiana University, 1984

SECOND CHILDHOOD Collects windup toys and pop-up books