The David and Joyce Milne Public Library's search for a children's librarian has ended.
"Kirsten Rose was a perfect fit, ready to hit the ground running," said Milne's director Pat McLeod. "We had 12 applicants in the two-and-a-half months the position was open. And I am pleased everyday that we chose Kirsten ... she has great ideas for the department going forward."
Rose, 40, came to the Milne library with four years experience as the youth services assistant librarian at the North Adams Public Library, and she holds a master's degree in library science.
Hired in March, Rose introduced a Toddler Story Time at the Milne library on Thursday, April 25.
Toddler Story Time will be offered every Thursday at 10:30 a.m., in addition to the Story Time for pre-school children on Tuesdays and Wednesdays at 10:30 a.m.
"I usually pick a theme for story time. It gives us a fun way to pick stories. Sometimes we sing songs or do an activity that relates to the theme," said the children's librarian.
As a child growing up in Boise, Idaho, Rose never needed to be persuaded to pick up a book and read. "I've always been a voracious reader," she said. "When I was a kid I would read anything I could get my hands on.
Among her favorite books were Laura Ingalls Wilder's "Little House" series.
Now Rose influences children's perception of reading and libraries. "As a children's librarian, I am lucky that I have a personal relationship with lots of children and their families and caregivers throughout the community. Those kids learn to love the library as a fun place, and get to know their librarians. It really sets the stage for them as future library users."
A career in library was not something to which Rose aspired in her younger years, despite her passion for reading and books. "I was not one of those people who had a clear vision of a career path," she explained.
After graduating from Williams College in 1994 and leaving Williamstown, she held down various jobs in the health and education fields for about nine years.
In 2006, Rose moved to Williamstown, together with her husband and their 1-year-old daughter. "We were in a position to live anywhere we wanted, as my husband was starting a job where he could work from home," she explained. "We knew people in the area, mostly college friends who had stayed around, and we were interested in living in a small town. It really has been great for my whole family and we love living here," she said.
As a returning resident of Williamstown, Rose began taking her daughter to Story Time in the local libraries, and visiting libraries more often. "I volunteered at the North Adams library, and decided it was a good fit. I wanted to go to library school, but as the mother of a young child I did not have much time to myself so I did it online," Rose said, referring to earning a master's degree in library science from Drexel University through their online program.
At the North Adams library, she became a paid employee, working mostly in the children's department. It was a customer of the North Adams library who told Rose about the opening at the Milne and suggested she apply for the job.
Asked what a typical day is like for a children's librarian, Rose smiled as she said that there really is no such thing. "You never know what is going to come in the door," sha said, "but I like that. You never get bored."
But when 3 p.m. rolls around, she knows that schoolchildren will be streaming through the door.
When the children need to read a book for a school assignment, Rose said that she finds a book that will catch their attention. "The most satisfying part of being a librarian is just connecting somebody with the right book," She said. "It is interesting to work with readers of all kinds. The reluctant readers stand out, because it often is a struggle for them to find something they can connect with in a positive way. The passionate readers are less of a challenge, because some of them will read almost anything."
As for the future, Rose intends to introduce programs and ideas as time goes on and she is more settled. "My predecessor (Mindy Hackner) did a lot of very good things," Rose said, "and I'm not trying to come in and change everything, but continue the tradition of good service."