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New children’s librarian a familiar face; Black held position about 14 years ago, is excited to return

By Laura Hayes

laurahayes@pressandjournal.com

717-944-4628
Posted 5/15/19

One day, Andrea Black was driving from her parents’ home in Elizabethtown to her home in Harrisburg when she and her boyfriend decided to cut through Middletown.

She turned to him and told …

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New children’s librarian a familiar face; Black held position about 14 years ago, is excited to return

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One day, Andrea Black was driving from her parents’ home in Elizabethtown to her home in Harrisburg when she and her boyfriend decided to cut through Middletown.

She turned to him and told him that she used to work at Middletown Public Library as the children’s librarian about 14 years ago.

“It was a cute place. It was one of my favorite libraries in the area — I’ve worked for several,” she recalled telling him.

Two days later, the children’s librarian position was posted, and Black decided to apply.

She was picked for the position and started last week. She has worked at libraries in three Pennsylvania counties, and she said that she liked how accessible Middletown’s library was to both staff and residents.

“I’m excited to have Andrea on staff because she has some great new ideas for programs for children and teens,” Director John Grayshaw said.

Black grew up in Elizabethtown. After college, she moved to Memphis, where she worked in libraries.

She liked having a job where she didn’t have to sit still, plus she liked working with children.

“I really like the information aspect of libraries,” Black said. She explained that outside of information for homework, the library was a place that the public could access resources such as books, movies or computers.

About 14 years ago, Black was planning on moving back to the area and was applying for jobs in libraries. She ended up being hired as the children’s librarian.

“It was really fun. I made a lot of changes. Started revamping the Summer Reading Program that summer, and turned it more into what it is now,” she said.

Before, the Summer Reading Program was like school, she said, where participants had to complete projects and assignments. She suggested a similar model that she used in Memphis — rewarding participants for reading.

The library’s Summer Reading Program kicks off this year June 8. The theme is “A Universe of Stories.” Visit the library’s website for a full list of Summer Reading Program activities at middletownpubliclib.org.

Black stayed in the Middletown children’s librarian position for about a year before leaving to look for a full-time job. Over the past 14 years she worked in other fields, including most recently running the volunteer program for the Whitaker Center in Harrisburg.

According to Grayshaw, as the children’s librarian, she will be in charge of planning and implementing programs for both kids and teens, running the Summer Reading Program and ordering new books and weeding through the library’s children’s and young adult sections.

Besides working on the Summer Reading Program, one of her goals is to draw teens back into the library, and she plans to go through the library’s collection and make some updates, particularly the nonfiction section.

“I tend to like quirky, funny, weird things,” she said.

Don’t expect any drastic changes immediately. All of the regular programs, such as the LEGO Junior Maker Club and the STEM Club, will remain the same.