“Every book has a reader, and every reader has a book.”
These lovely and powerful words come from Raina Sedore, one of several amazing librarians who make up Lacey Timberland Library’s youth services. A full-time librarian since 2008, Raina has spent most of her career instilling the love of reading in children.
Raina did not always want to be a librarian. She attended Evergreen State College with the intention of becoming a piano teacher. As with many of us, goals change in college, and she graduated with a BA in theater and the desire to be a theater professor and librarian. She went on to earn a Master of Library Science degree from Emporia State University.
Her many skills and interests serve her and the children she impacts well as she uses music, theater, art and laughter to engage kids. As a youth services librarian, Riana relies on all the skills and resources at her disposal to show the children she meets that reading can be a joy. In her own words the best part of her job is, “sharing the power of reading with kids.” She went on to say, “Over the eight plus years I’ve been in this position, I’ve learned that the things which get me most excited are all about getting to kids who might not choose to read on their own.”
Raina spends part of her professional time, fostering relationships with local area schools. She meets monthly with North Thurston Public Schools teacher-librarians. This allows her to stay hyper-aware of what is going on in local schools and to support district reading events such as the Battle of the Books. “The teacher-librarians in our schools are passionate, driven, intelligent people who love working with the kids in their schools. I’m very proud of the relationships and partnerships we’ve built with each of them to effectively serve our community,” she says. Raina and her co-workers in youth services try to visit each school in the North Thurston School District at least once a year. Of her middle school visits Raina says, “Middle school is the time in life when many kids start choosing not to read. We want middle schoolers to find books they want to read, and showing up in their space to show all the free stuff we offer can make a critical difference in helping them make that choice.”
When not teaching kids to love reading, Raina can be found exploring the beauty of Thurston county parks with her partner and five-year-old son. “I love going on walks at our wide variety of local parks,” she explains. Favorites include McLane Creek, Capitol Lake and the Billy Franks Jr. Nisqually Wildlife Refuge. She also enjoys participating in community events, going to museums, enjoying restaurants, thrift shopping and, of course, reading.
And what does a youth service librarian read you might ask? On her own time, Raina enjoys autobiographical memoirs and travelogues written in comic form. She also spends a lot of time reading books targeted to kids along with reviews and articles pertaining to youth literature. All this research allows her to have plenty of wonderful suggestions to offer children (or their parents) who are looking for just the perfect book.
She also gathers information by talking to kids, answering questions and exploring the shelves. “I value the ability to walk the shelves, putting books on display. Scanning the shelves like that keeps me in touch with what’s currently in the building,” she says. I can tell you from experience that her insight and suggestions are inspired. My kids love asking Raina for help picking out books or discovering a new series.
Riana beautifully described for me how she views her job: “As a public librarian, I get to open up new worlds to kids every day. Books can be windows into the lives of people who live differently than you. Books can also mirror your experience to help you feel less alone. Every kid – every person – should have both kinds of stories available to them. And my job is to make sure that happens!”
That light and passion is clear in every interaction with Raina. Whether you meet her at a local school, the library or a community event such as Lacey Loves to Read, it is impossible to miss. Raina is truly a gift to those who enter a Lacey library.
I asked Raina what she most wanted people to know. “I’m only one librarian in a library full of people eager to help you,” she shares. “There are four people in the youth services department alone and we all love kids and literacy. Libraries are all about sharing – thank you for sharing with us.”
Next time you are in Lacey, stop by the Lacey Timberland Library and say “hello.”