By: Henry Forbes, Staff Writer
The library is teeming with a wide assortment of novels, encyclopedias, and references. From the librarian’s desk, they can see a number of students, teachers, and administrators browse the endless array of books, as well as witnessing freshmen, sophomores, juniors and seniors working tirelessly on their assignments. The ones who sit behind this desk, Ann Reinke and Sue Kucera, have seen these events occur for a long time, and are here to talk about their experiences in and out of the library.
Q: When did you begin working as a librarian?
Reinke: I started in 1978 as a public librarian.
Kucera: 2003, this is a career change for me.
Q: Why did you decide to be a librarian?
R: There wasn’t much in the way of career counseling. I was an English lit major and I worked in my college library and one of the librarians recommended me to be a librarian.
K: I had been selling commercial real estate which didn’t go well with raising children, so I had planned to go back into the school system and it would be fun to be a librarian.
Q: Are there any challenges to working in the library?
R: I think the main challenge are these Chromebooks. There’s a false sense that Google answers all. They’re a tool, but they’re not teaching research skills. We need to reach more to people about the services you offer now that the kids have Chromebooks.
K: The challenge is more how to find information than memorizing and knowing everything.
Q: What have you learned from being a librarian?
R: I learned to be flexible; to juggle many varied requests at one time.
K: I’ve learned that it’s important to listen.
Q: Was James River the first place you started working was a librarian? (If not, which schools did you begin working at?)
R: I started at the Richmond Public Library; I worked there for 12 years and I took some time off to raise my sons, and when I went to work I realized it matched my son’s school calendar so realized being a school would be a perfect fit; I started working at elementary school, but leapt at the chance to work at the high school. I’ve been working here since 200 at James River.
K: I worked one year in Henrico at a middle school before coming here.
Q: Where did you go to college?
R: I went to Knox college (small liberal arts school in Illinois), and I went to graduate school at the University of Illinois.
K: I went to Indiana University and my graduate is from Longwood.
Q: What do you like to do on your spare time?
R: I love to cook; I consider myself a gourmet cook; I enjoy getting together with friends and family; I travel all the time; I went to Portugal over Christmas.
K: I am a yogi and a gardener and I am looking forward to retirement where I can spend more time with friends, family and travel.
Q: Being a librarian, which literary genres do you enjoy reading?
R: I like contemporary fiction; I like realistic fiction; I read more nonfiction now, and in that field I like to read more about contemporary issues.
K: I probably do a greater amount of non fiction myself now. And when I do read fiction I like to read historical fiction and contemporary fiction. And I’d love to be surprised into new genres.