Offering more than just books & information…The Ocotillo Branch Library

A Visit with Judy Kennedy

 On my final visit to the library (2/16/02) I had the opportunity to meet and speak with other staff members. I met “Billee,” (Branch Manager), Sherri Handley, (Circulation Attendant I), Daniel, (also a Circulation Attendant) and Judy Kennedy, (Library Clerk I).  Judy has worked at the Ocotillo branch for eighteen years and has seen many changes throughout the years.  She took a few moments to tell me about a few of them.  The biggest change has been the numbers of patrons (both adult and children) visiting the library; Judy thinks it’s more than doubled since she started work at the library in 1984.  When I inquired about children utilizing the library, she mentioned that many spend a significant amount of time here.  Judy said some kids walk here from school and stay until their parents pick them up after work.  A few kids stay until the library closes at night (9:00pm Monday thru Thursday and Sundays, 6:00pm Friday-Saturday).  In a sense, she said, they serve as after-school babysitters.  However Judy said this usually isn’t a problem because the kids are pretty well behaved.  But it wasn’t always that way.  According to her, six years ago (before they had the computers), a woman couldn’t leave a purse unattended in the library, without it getting stolen.  She credits the change to the “bad element moving on”.  They have a good group of kids now, and the only recurring problem they have are some children who forget to bring change to use the payphone to call their parents. (Staff lets them use the library phone on these occasions.)  I commented to Judy about how busy the computer area was. (They were all being used when I visited the library and there was a waiting list).  When I asked what the most popular things to do on the computers were she commented that kids seem to enjoy playing games on them (like the Magic School Bus, The Berenstain Bears and Blue’s clues); and the adults use them to write resumes and correspondence.

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