Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Meet Cindy Beyer

Cindy Beyer
New YSS Member Cindy Beyer is the head of  the children’s department for the WJ Niederkorn Library in Port Washington, where she's been for 6 years.  She's had over 20 years experience working with kids. I met her at the 2013 Youth Services Institute, where she impressed me with her sassy wit, her insight, and her passion for youth services!  She's got some great perspectives to share with YSS members!

Tell us a little about your philosophy of libraries and youth services.
         My children’s room is a lively and inviting space.  I like to call it the “community living room”.  I want families to be able to come in and be as they are.  Come in if you have questions about books, the school system, special needs, offerings in our community or just come in if you need to vent and have another adult to listen.  I think that children’s librarians can be at times, a “bartender” for stay- at- home parents.  We listen to your troubles and try to give advice or just a hug and a kind ear.  No alcohol served, just compassion and understanding.  

What made you decide to become a member of WLA and YSS?  What had been holding you back before?
  I joined WLA this year due to the encouragement of the 2013 DPI Youth Services Development Institute that I attended in September.  When I was hired in 2007, I was told to refrain from referring to myself as a “Children’s Librarian” because I do not hold a MLS.  I was told that those with a MLS would be offended if I assumed a title that they have worked hard to earn.  Therefore, I have never felt fully comfortable in settings or conferences with “librarians”.  After attending the institute I gained a new sense of acceptance of my place in the library world.  Even though I don’t hold a MLA, I do believe that through my years of work with children and my experience in a library setting, I am qualified to refer to myself as a children’s librarian.  I want to explore all the possibilities that are available to me.

Do you have any suggestions for YSS and other professional organizations to help them welcome all librarians?
 One thing that I have noticed when attending conferences, people don’t readily go out of their way to meet new people and introduce new people to their friends.  I have felt like a lonely fish swimming in a crowded ocean--and I consider myself to be an outgoing personality.  I cannot imagine how lonely a shyer person would feel in the same situation.  Somehow we need to identify ourselves more clearly as Youth Services in conference settings and reach out to get to know each other.  We are all in this together.

How about ideas for how you’d like YSS to support you as a children’s librarian?
1      YSS could help Children’s Librarians by giving them a sense that they are not alone in this library world.  I am very fortunate to work for a library that has a strong board, a good director, and amazing staff, in a community that values our library.  I have come to realize that this is not always the norm.  Many youth service librarians are dealing with difficult work situations.  They need the support of friends and colleagues that have an understanding.  There is a saying, “… it takes a village…”, well sometimes it may take more.  It may take an entire state full of youth services professionals to work together to better the lives of children throughout Wisconsin.

1 comment:

Marge Loch-Wouters said...

One great way to meet people at conference is to volunteer at the registration area. You get a chance to say hi to lots of folks and schmooze ("What do you do at your library?" "What system are you in?" "How long are you at conference?"). Sometimes those little chats blossom into more. Another strategy is to reach out to one or two people you know and set a lunch or breakfast date - or ask to tag along. And take advantage of the social evenings set- up even if you are a pop drinker (YSS GET-together), Foundation fundraiser, pub crawl, meet and greet). Great way to mingle. Be bold and just strike up a conversations. We're always new somewhere in our lives and lots of longtime WLA attendees would love to enfold newer folks into the fun.