Member of the Month

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Cate B. Sweeney
Public Services Manager, Bee Cave Public Library  

Professional experience
After I graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Art History, I landed two part-time jobs: as an elementary school art instructor and an assistant reference librarian at a public library. I learned quickly that I love creative learning and making information accessible. Soon after that realization, I went on to earn my MLS at University of North Texas and have since worked and volunteered in public and school libraries in Utah, Colorado, Scotland, and Texas.

Though I enjoyed my time working in larger library systems like Austin Public and Anythink, it has been really satisfying to be at a one branch library like Bee Cave. My current position allows me to be involved in programs and services for all ages. Depending on the time of year or time of day, I work on collection development, help patrons navigate the TexShare databases, oversee summer reading program events, facilitate the evening book club discussion, or present to the City Council on a new library initiative. It is not often when one can find such a great mix of organization, information, and creativity in one job. It is such a perfect fit for me right now! 

Innovative library practices
While working on a YOUmedia grant at Anythink Library, I visited the Harold Washington Library teen area in downtown Chicago. The library is one of the original places where libraries ventured out into content creation. It showed me how a librarian's job is really open-ended.

I now see my role goes beyond book pusher and maintaining databases. My job helps facilitate interest-driven learning in whatever space and with any resources I am given. Sometimes my role takes the traditional form of books and databases, while at other times it encompasses bringing the right people together to learn from each other with maker materials. It even helps me think differently about leading our library knitting club each month. There are a lot of ideas to explore, and it is exciting to work in libraries during an era of innovation.

Favorite literary character or book
To prepare for our monthly library book club discussions, I dutifully read at least 12 solid books from the adult fiction each year. However, I often gravitate towards children’s books and some YA. If I had to choose a favorite book character, it would have to be Ramona Quimby. She is my spirit animal, and I am well on my way to collecting a first edition copy of each book in the series. 

Most memorable TLA experience
To date, my most memorable TLA experience is serving on the 2015 Local Arrangements Committee and successfully reviving the Book Cart Drill Team competition  a dream fulfillment since 2009.  Not only is the competition simply a riot, it gives librarians a way to “geek out” while addressing big topics through spoofed lyrics. It sparks conversations with users who are surprised to find out that librarians can be so much fun.  It may even encourage users to ask what is a "database" or “reader’s advisory."  It may probably be the most fun one can have with an outreach project ever.

Created on May 31, 2016 | Last updated October 03, 2016