Career Move Raised Questions

“Why would you work for a library?”

by guest blogger Janine Pflaum
York County Libraries Director of Development

When I made the choice to leave my prior employer and continue my career path in Fund Development at York County Libraries, I heard phrases like, “Libraries will be obsolete in a few years” or Janine Pflaum“Libraries are losing their relevancy.” 

I became so frustrated with friends and family members who continued to question and doubt my decision.  Did they not know about the outreach programs such as “Beyond Our Walls” or the Summer Learning Program?  So I armed myself with knowledge, facts, and figures from the programs offered county-wide in York County Libraries. I was prepared to tell my friends and family a thing or two about the relevancy and impact of libraries in today’s world.

Then, one day, a staff member in Martin Library introduced me to Damon. I sat down with Damon as he told me his story, and I realized that he is why libraries are relevant. Damon is only one among thousands of individuals (of all ages and backgrounds) whose lives have been touched by their local library. He is one reason I chose to work at York County Libraries. He is one reason libraries are relevant.

Let me introduce you to Damon:

Damon was a young teen when he moved to York. Not yet knowing anybody in town or what activities York had to offer him, he was able to find refuge within a newly remodeled Martin Library to explore a life away from the streets. This is where his story begins.

At a time when he could have taken a much different course in life, Damon continued to come to Martin Library’s Teen Forum where teens are free to read, browse books, use the computers or simply relax with friends. The library provided an outlet for Damon to enjoy things that most people take for granted, such as reading graphic novels and playing video games.

Damon’s life took a turn when he found himself without a home several years ago. He knew that he could continue to come to Martin Library and feel safe while spending time indoors and utilizing the services available to cardholders. Damon recently attended a Poetry Workshop for adults which inspired him to write his own moving poem, and he looks forward to attending future programs designed for adults. Damon’s story is still being written and we’re all excited to see where his story will lead him. He told us, “I am at the library every day and every hour that I am not working. If it weren’t for this place… I’m afraid to even think about the life that I would be leading right now.”

A library is not just books, it is a place – a place to gather, a place for job seekers, a place to learn, a place for the community, a safe place to be.  Every day I look forward to doing my part to ensure that your local library is here for everyone to use and enjoy.