Thursday, March 20, 2014

Interview: Ada McEwan, Author of Confessions of a Small Town Librarian & Librarian at the Elliott Public Library

Hi Ada, thank you for taking the time to come by my blog. *hugs* Tea, coffee? Sit down, we’ve got TONS to talk about!

Thank you for having me on your blog, Sabina, it is one of my favorites!

Today it’s Release Day for the anthology Rise of the Goddess. Can you tell us why this anthology is so special for you?

The anthology is so important to me because it is going to help my library. We were hit with major budget cuts this year. More importantly, I love my library and every single author and artist feel the same way I do and are so willing to help. I am very humbled by their support.

Can you tell us about your wonderful library? How is the atmosphere?

Our current library was built in 1981 after two years of fundraising and hard work. It is a metal Morton building and we share half of it with the Elliott Community Hall. All labor was done by a wonderful group of men who volunteered their time and machinery. We like to keep the atmosphere light, homey and as comfortable as we can. It is the safety zone for all the children in town and our library it almost always busy.
As you stated earlier, the anthology came to life to help your library. As amazing as it is that so many people all over the world is contributing to the anthology, why is it necessary? 
The anthology is necessary for so many reasons. We are one of the lowest paid libraries in Iowa. Our library typically runs on thirteen thousand dollars. That alone isn’t enough to pay for wages and light and gas bills. We have had a 30% increase in patronage, books checked out, people using the internet and one on one assistance. The sad part is, we don’t get enough budget money from the city and county to cover the basics, let alone purchase any books. We rely heavily on donations to keep us going. The Friends of the Library help us as much as they can, but when you are dealt with a 2300 dollar budget cut on an already inadequate budget, this hurts. The worst part is, budget cuts mean we cannot help our community as needed. Libraries are the heart of the community, but apparently to some, it isn’t important enough to see what all we do.
Can you tell me more about the Friends of the Library and what kind of work they do?
The Friends are a group of volunteers who share a common goal: "To help the library grow as a resource for the community." We all hold the library close to our hearts. We donate our time and our skills to raise money to help our library with budget shortfalls. We try and help to keep our library updated, safe and very, very special. In today's economy, small town libraries are feeling the brunt of financial hardship and we aim to change that.
How many people are there in your town, and how many uses the library?
There are approximately 350 who live in town and we serve about 300 people a month. We have had a 30% increase in people who use our library. Which is huge for us!
What social influence does your library have on the city? How will the city suffer for the budget cut?
The library serves many purposes. Socially, we are the only resource in town for people of all ages to use. We help people look for employment, we help the elderly, if they are homebound, and we will deliver books to them. We have summer reading programs for the children and have a teen program as well. We are so much more than a building full of books. This budget cut greatly affects us as a whole. If we don’t have the budget money to pay for bills and staff who is desperately needed this puts a lot of pressure onto one person and the library board. If we don’t have the money for programs like these, I am not sure how we are going to be able to help the community with the growth we are seeing.

You once told me that the history of the library and your family’s history go way back. What is the connection?
My great grandmother, grandmother, great aunts and scads of women had what was called the Waveland Mite Society. My great grandmother was a beloved member of society, she donated part of the family farm for a cemetery and was known for her generosity and devotion to the community. These women would tuck away money they would make off of selling goods and would buy books with the money raised. They would loan out books from their personal library and once the town had incorporated a library; they donated their books to it. My great aunt served on the library board for decades, she too, was a generous and devoted woman who loved the library.
What is some of the best experiences you have had as a librarian?
Oh gosh, there are so many to tell. I love being a librarian and every single day I am there, I am just happy to help people. One time, I had a young boy come running up to me and threw his arms around my waist and told me I was the best librarian ever! I love summer reading programs, we spend months planning for it and they are so fun! I just love seeing all the smiling faces. Last year we had 43 kids, normally we would have about two dozen. One day, my sister, Laura (who is also a librarian there) and I were up there early and a man who was walking across America for the Wounded Warrior Project stopped by, it was amazing meeting him. I could write about these experiences forever.
Thank you so much for coming by Ada. I just adore you and what you do for us all!!! You’re beautiful inside out.
You are too sweet, Sabina! Thank you for having me and listening to me go on and on about my library and town.
You're always welcome here Ada! Anytime!
If you all look at the previous post here on my blog, there's a Release Day Review of the Rise of the Goddess with a GIVEAWAY. I rated Rise of the Goddess 5 Potions, it was that amazing to me!

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