Member of the Month

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Thomas Finley 
Adult Services Manager, Frisco Public Library 

Professional experience
I found my way into libraries as a book scout for Larry McMurtry’s bookstore in Archer City. I would love helping people find the right book and around that time, someone told me: “You know, there is a name for what you enjoy doing. It’s called a librarian.” 

I have a Bachelor of Arts in Classical Music from Texas Woman’s University, and I received my MLIS from the University of North Texas. I am also a past board member of the North Texas Chapter for Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages (which provides professional development opportunities for ESL Teachers). I had the opportunity to work with diverse communities in all corners of Dallas during my time at the Dallas Public Library system, and I am humbled by what we were able to accomplish with the talent of DPL’s staff and the passion of community leaders. 

Currently, I have the pleasure of working at the Frisco Public Library with a dedicated and brilliant library team that accomplishes the impossible on a regular basis. I am also a co-founder of the Texas Innovation Group (TiG). TiG is a community of librarians and educators from throughout the region. We are racing to meet the future science and technology needs of library users by raising the collective capabilities of our community science educators in STEM and STEAM topics.  

Fun Fact: In the early 2000s, I lived in Mexico City, where I discovered that my favorite word in any language is: Parangaricutirimicuaro – a city in the Mexican state of Michoacán.

Innovative library practices
I consider innovation our insurance for the future. Texas Libraries need leaders at all levels with a strong internal locus of control that give free reign to their creativity and innovation. Each one of us is ridiculously in control, and our communities need us more than ever to succeed and lead the way forward, and participating in innovation isn’t dependent upon money: innovation is a mindset—not based on budgets.

Someone recently said to me: “Librarians are the true revolutionaries!” I couldn’t agree more.    

Favorite book or literary character 
My favorite literary character is a real person whose life seems far-fetched: the English writer and adventurer, Patrick Leigh Fermor. 

Most memorable TLA experience
Being able to participate in the Tall Texans Leadership Institute has been my TLA highlight so far: the bar is set very high, but once you get in, you are surrounded by others that are focused on doing the best they can for their community. There is an energy to this that is wonderful. The institute is guided by the experience and insight of Maureen and Jack Sullivan. Add to this mix the lifelong friendships and connections you make, and it all ends up being as close to magic in this world, as is possible.  

A very close second was being invited to join the 2017 Annual Conference Program Committee. This is another group of dedicated librarians from all corners of librarianship in Texas that put a lot of blood, sweat, and (hopefully not too many) tears into making the conference a showcase of personal development opportunities, networking, best practices from around the state, and sparks of inspiration for all.  

Created on May 31, 2016 | Last updated August 31, 2017