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New Carnegie librarian settling into role

| Friday, Feb. 10, 2017, 11:05 p.m.
Andrew Carnegie Free Library new children and youth services librarian Elizabeth Shedlock stands for a photo inside the library Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2017. Shedlock started at the library in early January.
Kristina Serafini | Tribune-Review
Andrew Carnegie Free Library new children and youth services librarian Elizabeth Shedlock stands for a photo inside the library Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2017. Shedlock started at the library in early January.

Elizabeth Shedlock is developing her young career as a librarian at the Andrew Carnegie Free Library & Music Hall, but not for the mainstream reason. As a part-time children's and youth services librarian, the historic library's newest staff member sees many benefits beyond the world of books.

“A response I occasionally get to my career choice is ‘Oh you're a librarian? You must love books,'” Shedlock said. “And it is true, I do love books. But the books aspect isn't why I decided to take this path, nor is it the single most rewarding part for me. I love what libraries and librarians have to offer, beyond the books. The services and the programs. I wanted to work in public libraries and with young people because I believe that is a way I can do some good in this world.

“So while I enjoy the collection development part of my duties and believe they are important, the most rewarding part is having the opportunity to work with kids of all ages and stages.”

Shedlock, a Lackawanna County native, started in her role last month after serving as an interim children's programming facilitator at the Braddock Carnegie Library. Then she was a youth services intern at the Oakmont Carnegie Public Library. Beyond her duties in Carnegie, Shedlock also works part-time at the Hillman Library at the University of Pittsburgh.

After graduating magna cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts degree from West Chester University, Shedlock moved to Pittsburgh and obtained a master's from Pitt's School of Library and Information Science.

“I love the Pittsburgh area,” Shedlock said. “My grandparents are originally from Swissvale, so I do have some roots here. There is so much to do in Pittsburgh. I've really enjoyed the last year and a half that I've been out here, and I look forward to more years to come. I have had the opportunity to connect with some people who live in Carnegie, and they have all been welcoming and lovely and generous with their ideas. I'm excited to keep working and interacting with the people here.”

Shedlock has spent her first several weeks researching and planning. She began a Lego Club event last week and will start a family story time Feb. 25.

She plans on adding more programs geared to children and families, including a summer reading program.

Library Executive Director Margaret Forbes attributed the addition of a children and youth librarian position to the 20-year contract it signed in December with Carnegie Borough, which provides an annual funding stream of $70,000 this year and eventually increases it to $100,000 a year.

Library staff thought “building our children and youth programming was the most impactful thing the library could do with its increased funding from borough,” Forbes said. “What really grabbed us about (Shedlock) was her comment that she was motivated by the opportunity to build programs from scratch. Her relationship with the library and community is evolving day by day. She's terrific.”

Shedlock also has met with a Carlynton High School English teacher to develop a teen reading program and is exploring a monthly reading initiative with an American Sign Language interpreter.

Shedlock said she is enjoying getting to know the community and being able to work in the landmark Carnegie library.

“It is a truly beautiful building and amazingly renovated,” Shedlock said. “I can't really get over the sheer amount of space here. It really gives me the chance to cast my net wide in terms of programs I could do here.”

Matthew Peaslee is a Tribune-Review contributing writer.

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