The Reader

Michelle Li

Just a normal afternoon in the Eugene Public Library (EPL), the children’s department was easily ignored by people who rushed through the hallway. Barbara DeRovertis stood at the front desk of the children’s department, chatted with a parent who asked about the reading events “Jungle Tales with Antonio Rocha” on May 9th. “This is an animal tale with ecological themes, and children have to be 6 years old to participate,” DeRovertis explained.

Barbara DeRovertis has been a library assistant for almost 10 years. Working as a library assistant in children’s department, her job entailed many things. A Large parts of it concerned the public reference at the front desk in the children’s area and helping librarians ordering books.

“Besides all the things on display, there is a whole list of the behind-scene duties other than people can see,” DeRovertis smiled.

DeRovertis shared with responsibilities with other 11 assistants, and their primary job was do storytelling for children. She was in charge of reading to 1 year-olds, but sometimes she also rotated with other colleagues and doing other age group.

The children department is on the left side of the building, a quiet yet cozy corner with 6 shelves of books, including fairy tale, children magazines and Disney animations. A line of computers provided Internet access and print services. Most children were with their parents because in order to be left alone in the library they need to be 8 years old or older. A little blackboard on the wall were stuck with colorful flies about teens groups meeting, tutoring classes and so forth.

A major service emphasized in the EPL is the programs designed for children, and especially for pre-school children. Debovertis said the library system has designated time (at least one time a week for each group) for storytelling, including two main sections: “Kids Section” and “Teens Section.” Sometimes she had to present for 50 children and their parents.

“Look at our brochure; we have all kinds of programs for different age groups.” DeRovertis brought out a yellow pamphlet, which introduced the programs the EPL provided. “ We have five groups just for ‘Kids Section’ alone,” She explained, “Baby Storytime” for infants to 12-months-olds, “Tiny Tots Storytime” for 1-year-olds, “Toddler Storytime” for 2-years-olds, and “Pre-School Storytime” for 3 to 6-year-olds.”

“One thing I love about this program is that it follows the rule that different children have different needs” DeRovertis said. She browsed through the website of the EPL that displayed all the detailed information about the programs.

“For instance, compared to the “Kids Section”, “Teens Section” was very different. The program focused more on helping young adults with their school, so it includes a lot of homework helping websites and tutoring information,” DeRovertis added, “Each Friday, teens can enjoy board and card gaming at the Sheldon Branch Library. The programs also have several free spring break activities planned. In the past spring break, we organized a discussion section of Slam by Nick Hornby, a showing of The Twilight Saga: New Moon.”

Barbara Debovertis started working as a school librarian at the Bethel Brach Library in Eugene, and transferred to the EPL in 2002 after the EPL moved into today’s new and larger building near LTD bus station. Debovertis recalled that even there was a separated children’s department in the old building, it was really small. “But after the moving, the department is significantly bigger in scale now,” she added.

In college, Debovertis majored in education with an endorsement in speech pathology. She studied in the library school for 8 years to pursue a master degree, but she dropped out. Although people need a master in library science to be a certified librarian; DeRovertis said “I had no regrets about not finishing my masters because I’m doing what I want to be doing.”

When being asked about whether she wanted to go back to graduate school, Dobovertis smiled and shook her head: “By the time you pay for masters program you’re already ready for retirement. Masters is so expensive and time-consuming. I have to work at the same time and raise a family.”

Debovertis considered the EPL as a “tranquil oasis” because it is a community place for people who enjoy literature, films and learning. “One thing good about there is that it is a governmental agency that sponsored by the City of Eugene. We have a big collection comprises over 400,000 items including videos, DVDs, and audio books.” Debovertis said, “And the children’s department is the best department to work in.”

About michelleqianli

Michelle QianLi is currently studying MCDM at University of Washington. She is a native-born Chinese and came to U.S. in 2008.
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