Natasha Wells works as a Regional Librarian in Corner Brook, Newfoundland and Labrador. Prior to this she worked as a Youth Services Librarian and as a School Librarian in Houston, New York City, and Cleveland. She’s currently working towards her 200 hour yoga teacher training certificate and can’t wait to start teaching yoga at the library! She and her husband of 10 years love relaxing at home with their dog, Max.
What was the first job you ever had?
Like most young girls my first job was as a babysitter, but my first real paycheque came from working as a cashier in a small neighborhood grocery store. The job taught me the importance of customer service and getting to know your customers. I loved that job!
What was your first position in the library or information field?
Since my background is education, I started working as an Elementary School Librarian which is something I did for almost 6 years. I enjoyed the collaborative aspect of the job because I got to work side-by-side with teachers developing information literacy lessons. Of course, the best part of the day was always reading to the kids and seeing them connect with the characters in the book. My passion for picture books was fueled by this position. I honestly thought I’d always work as a School Librarian but my heart belongs to public libraries and serving the public.
What is the most challenging part of your job?
As a Regional Librarian of 29 branches, the biggest challenge is finding time. My position encompasses many roles so it can be a bit of a juggling act as well; prioritizing is key and something I didn’t think I’ve necessarily mastered yet. Also, because the branches are so geographically spread out it’s not always easy to travel to each branch, especially in the winter.
What do you think is the biggest challenge libraries face today?
Definitely funding. However, I think we all do our best to prioritize and provide the best service possible within our given budget constraints.
What aspect of library work are you most passionate about?
Since my background is in education, I thought I’d end up in children’s services. However, while working in the Cleveland Public Library (CPL) system I realized what I really enjoyed was working with and servicing adults. Even though my role with CPL was as Youth Services Librarian, I had plenty of opportunity to work with patrons of all ages. I found a sense of fulfillment in answering their questions, assisting with resumes, teaching information sessions, and just developing a trusted relationship with the regular patrons.
If you didn’t work in information services, what do you think you’d be doing?
Growing up I wanted to do and be a million things. When I think about what I wanted to be, it was always centered around the arts – photography, acting, painting, writing. So, I’d like to think I could make a living being creative. I’ve always admired artists of all disciplines. They are so committed and driven by passion and creativity. It’s inspiring.