Get to Know … Anne Crawford

PVN Get to Know Anne Crawford 1608

By David Aaro
mail@floridanewsline.com

A kid at heart, Anne Crawford currently works as the Assistant Branch Manager, Youth Services Librarian and VolunTeen Coordinator at the Ponte Vedra Beach Branch Library. Crawford was born in Atlanta and went to school at Stetson University. After that she took a year off to work with kids at the YMCA, where she gained her passion for being a librarian.

She then got her master’s degree of library information science at Florida State University, a requirement for working in the St Johns County library system. While in college, Crawford interned at the Hastings branch and was hired as a children’s librarian in St. Augustine. She eventually was hired at the Ponte Vedra branch in 2009 where she has found her home and worked ever since.

Crawford is married to her husband Daniel, an engineer, and they have one daughter.

  1. What was it like working at these different branches in the northeast Florida area?

It’s interesting because you find what’s different and what’s important to the people in the community. The main thing is, you see what the library represents for the community. I’ve been at libraries where the computers and technology were the hot thing. I came to Ponte Vedra with that mindset based on working at the other libraries, but that was not the case here. The hot things people are pressed against the door for in the morning are newspapers.

  1. What separates Ponte Vedra from the other libraries?

The most obvious thing would be the Friends of the Library group here. They are incredible and unstoppable. They are several hundred strong and devoted to the last one. All of the things you see in here — the paint, the rug, the tables, the board games in children’s department, the ladybug display, the furniture and books in the shelves — that’s all due to the Friends of the Library. The Friends are the ones who fundraise for us to give us the opportunity to do these things. This allows us to attract more teens and tweens to the library.

  1. How did this become your passion?

When I was at Stetson I studied to be a teacher. I wanted to work with kids, but teaching wasn’t quite the right fit for me. While taking a year off at the YMCA I worked with five- and six-year-olds in after school care. I ended up doing an informal story time with the kids where we read “The Foot Book” by Dr. Seuss. Eventually we got to the point where they could recite it, so I entered them into a talent show, which they won. That connection between story time and being a librarian just kind of clicked. I like the freedom the library gives me to think outside the box because I’m not bound to the curriculum lesson plans or Common Core. It is solely what your mind can come up with to get kids to come out and have fun. On top of that with being in a public instead of school library, I can see them from babies all the way up to 18.

  1. What’s the most rewarding part of being a youth services coordinator?

Seeing a child read for first time is awesome. Seeing kids getting excited about their favorite topic, author or series. Seeing babies come into story time with gigantic smiles on their faces, while hearing songs, dancing and doing crafts. Working with teenagers who volunteer and take ownership of their programs because they are so invested in the library that they become part of the family. You see teens that volunteered in the past come back in the summer during college to volunteer and talk about their exploits. You get to see them go in a journey and really come into themselves.

  1. What’s something the readers might not know about you?

I had special needs as a child because I was partially deaf until age five. I was in a special school for speech until I was mainstreamed in second grade. I was also diagnosed with ADD, which I still have a touch of. I incorporate that energy into the kids so I can use it to my advantage. I think about the challenge of being a kid that was different and bullied. Sometimes the only companion I could find was books. Looking back maybe I couldn’t change my situation at the time, but as an adult I can give the youth a different experience than I had as a child.

Photo courtesy David Aaro

Anne Crawford