Charlie Touseull special to the Arizona Daily Star
I love libraries and I love being a librarian. I have always had a passion for reading. As a Tucson native, I have been a patron of the Pima County Public Library since I was a child.
The first branch I met was the old main branch, which is now the Children’s Museum of Tucson. My parents also took me to the Mission and Valencia branches quite often, where I would attend story time and check the batteries. Back then, they seemed never-ending, places of wonder, places of magic.
When I got older, I discovered that I liked to write. This, in turn, inspired me to become a lyricist and vocalist for various metal and hardcore bands in the Tucson area over the past three decades. Those experiences in the music scene gave me insight into how people working together could forge a better place out of almost nothing.
These acts of community building and mutual aid had a profound impact on me, ultimately influencing me to pursue a career that promoted literature, education, and creativity.
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I recently became a public librarian after working the last 15 years at the University of Arizona. While I enjoyed working in a prestigious academic library, I realized that I could best serve my hometown by using my skills and passion for information sharing and literacy by working directly with my community.
Libraries are places where history resides, and on these shared shelves, a deep understanding of our past can be made if you are willing to read the pages.
This rich history, this depth of experience and varied perspective, is what makes our physical and electronic collection so exciting to browse. No matter the subject, libraries are important places that help anchor our collective understanding and perceptions of the world.
I love what public libraries stand for. We offer spaces for education, recreation, relaxation, networking, safety, creativity, and quiet, just to name a few of the attributes our diverse patron base has come to appreciate about our spaces.
If you ask 50 people what they think of their local library, chances are you’ll get that many answers. Our library can be a place for a teenager to do homework or for someone without internet access to use Wi-Fi. It can be a place to find that new best-selling novel or to check out a stack of DVDs to munch on during the hot summer months.
Libraries are places to be alone and read, or places to gather with the community to listen to a poetry reading or hear a live music performance. Libraries are places that help our community become the best version of themselves while building stronger bonds with their neighbors.
I work at the Joyner-Green Valley branch; in that building, I see a cross-section of the people who live in the area. If you visit and spend time in any of our other 26 offices, you will experience the diversity and uniqueness that make up each of these different neighborhoods.
At each location, library staff are doing their best to provide excellent service and create a welcoming atmosphere for all who enter the doors.
There are no other places in our society that offer so many services for free. In these uncertain and turbulent times, it gives me a sense of happiness to know that libraries exist as centers of stability and comfort for my community, and to be part of an organization rooted in genuine empathy and equitable service to everyone validates all these years. I went through school and worked retail jobs.
A couple of months ago, I wore a Cat In The Hat outfit to my branch while handing out new library cards to a large group of children. For the kids, seeing me in that silly costume gave them a unique experience that made them see libraries as a place of wonder, a place of magic.
Directly involving my community in small everyday acts of positive change and personal growth is something that brings me joy. It gives me hope that I’m helping to build the foundation for something brighter to come.
Charlie Touseull is the youth/adolescent librarian at the Joyner-Green Valley Library. In his spare time, he enjoys collecting vinyl, studying history and going to concerts with friends. She also loves spending time with her two rescued dogs, Chewie and Han.