Mica Soellner is a freelance multimedia journalist who has worked at US and UK publications. She has been published by the Independent, i News, Novara Media, spiked-online and has been featured on BBC radio. Mica is completing her Bachelor's degree in Journalism from the University of Missouri. She is currently based in Washington D.C. interning at Politifact National. She has language skills in Japanese and German and is interested in labor relations, politics and foreign policy.
Come meet three of your local friendly library workers
In the age of digital media, it’s important to remember the academic haven for previous generations: libraries.
The Columbia Public Library is home to books and references and is a service to the community by holding events and offering classes on a variety of subjects including technology and job searches. The library staff reminds us why it’s still nothing less than a privilege and a pleasure to grace the doors of a physical library in the internet era.
Mitzi St. John, Daniel Boone Regional Library public relations manager
St. John has worked for seven years in Daniel Boone Regional Library and says learning is a lifelong journey. St. John became involved in library work with an initial interest in working for an organization that served a clear direction in helping people.
“There is a value in helping everyone learn how to read,” St. John says. "It’s a wonderful feeling to see all types of people using our facilities.”
St. John recalls that despite the increase use of e-books and digital learning, DBRL still keeps up with modernizing its space. The library offers information online as well as one-on-one training.
“There are several people who enjoy just holding a book," St. John says. "There’s value in the tactile feel of being able to read a book. It’s become a community hub.”
Lauren Williams, Columbia Public Library adult & community services manager
Working at the library for 12 years, Williams’ goal was to go into a profession that made a difference in people’s lives.
“We acknowledge a lot of people want to do a lot of their reading and information searching online, so our digital branch really functions,” Williams says. “(Patrons) can download e-books and language learning tools, and we have lots of resources through our website they can use.”
Williams hopes to bring DBRL services further out into communities and for people to utilize the place as a place to gather information, learn new skills and meet new people.
Kat Stone Underwood, Columbia Public Library library services
Having been at the library for one year, Underwood began working in library services when she was 17 and enjoys being able to connect people to the resources they need from learning how to use a computer to finding a job. Underwood believes that DBRL had a quick start on picking up on digital changes while still embracing traditional methods of learning and reading.
“DBRL has kind of gotten up early on digital books, and a lot of other libraries are quickly getting there that you don’t have to go to a library to get a book,” says Underwood. “At the same time, there are physical books as well. We’re really lucky that Columbia is very loving and generous to the library.”
Originally published by Vox Magazine on June 25, 2017