Interview with Barbara Giardina

I met with Barbara Giardina, the manager of the Betts branch public library. My most striking impression of the interview was how perfectly situated in her environment Ms. Giardina seemed. She had not originally planned on a library career (her earlier degrees were in biology and equine science) but she felt she was incorporating all her life’s experiences into the job. She stressed that there was no such thing as a typical day and life regularly intervenes in her work plans.

She was adamant, however, that a library is a “center of the community, not a community center”—rather, it is not an active force in programs but inviting for people to participate.  This was, to me, an interestingly traditional stance, as more and more people don’t seem want to use libraries as a quiet place of books.

Curiously, she was very enthusiastic about e-books, since they cannot be stolen (something I hadn’t considered before, especially since I tend to focus on the related potential copyright “theft” for those things) and would not take up valuable physical space.  So many people are too busy to come in and physically grab books, whereas a download service would be available at all hours. This is certainly true, but it seems a little at odds with her feelings on the role of libraries in the community– if libraries become online repositories of e-books, what else can the physical building become?

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