Find Stability, Comfort and Insight at Pima County Libraries | Entertainment

Charlie Touseull Special for the Arizona Daily Star

I love libraries and I love being a librarian. I have always had a passion for reading. As a native of Tucsonan, I have been a patron of the Pima County Public Library since I was a child.

The first branch I knew of was the old main branch, which is now the Children’s Museum Tucson. My parents also took me to the Mission and Valencia branches quite often, where I attended story time and browsed the shelves. Back then they seemed endless, places of wonder, places of magic.

As I got older, I discovered that I liked to write. This, in turn, inspired me to be a lyricist and vocalist for several metal and hardcore bands in the Tucson area over the past three decades. These experiences in the music scene gave me insight into how people working together could forge a better place out of almost nothing.

These acts of community building and helping each other have had a profound impact on me, ultimately spurring me to seek a career that fosters literature, education, and creativity.

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I recently became a public librarian after working for the past 15 years at the University of Arizona. While I enjoyed working at a prestigious university library, I realized I could better serve my hometown by utilizing my skills and passion for information sharing and literacy by working directly with my community.

Libraries are places where history resides and on these shared shelves a deep understanding of our past can be had if you are willing to read the pages.

This rich history, this depth of varied experiences and perspectives, is what makes our physical and electronic collection so exciting to browse. Regardless of the topic, libraries are important places that help ground our collective understanding and perceptions of the world.

I like what public libraries represent. We provide places for education, recreation, rest, networking, safety, creativity and tranquility, to name just a few of the attributes our diverse clientele have come to appreciate in our spaces.

Chances are if you ask 50 people what they think of their local library, you’ll get just as many answers. Our library can be a place where a teenager can do their homework or someone who doesn’t have internet access can use Wi-Fi. It can be a place to find that new bestselling novel or check out a pile of DVDs to snack on during the hot summer months.

Libraries are places to be alone and read, or places to gather with the community to listen to a poetry reading or listen to a live musical performance. Libraries are places that help our community update the best version of itself while strengthening ties with its neighbors.

I work at the Joyner-Green Valley branch; in this building, I see a cross section of people who live in the area. If you were to visit and spend time in any of our other 26 branches, you would experience the diversity and uniqueness that make up each of these distinct neighborhoods.

In each location, library staff do their best to provide exceptional service and create a welcoming environment for everyone who walks through the doors.

There are no other places in our company that offer so many free services. In these uncertain and turbulent times, knowing that libraries exist as centers of stability and comfort for my community brings me a sense of happiness, and being part of an organization that is rooted in true empathy and equitable service for all valid all these years I spent in school and worked in retail jobs.

A few months ago, I wore a Cat In The Hat outfit at my branch while handing out new library cards to a large group of kindergartners. For children, seeing me in this silly costume offered a unique experience that made them see libraries as a place of wonder, a place of magic.

Directly engaging my community in small daily acts of positive change and personal growth is something that brings me joy. It gives me hope to help lay the groundwork for something brighter to come.

Charlie Touseull is the tween/teen librarian at the Joyner-Green Valley Library. In his spare time, he enjoys collecting vinyl, studying history and going to shows with friends. He also enjoys spending time with his two rescued dogs, Chewie and Han.

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