On the July Library page: Checking out
By Tammy Kimberley
Splash Staff Writer
The friendly faces in the children's department at Liberty Lake Municipal Library will look a little different come the end of summer. That's because Amy Dickeson and Katie Wiykovics are both leaving to pursue different passions.
Wiykovics, whose last day at the library was June 5, plans to spend more time with her seven grandchildren as well as work on completing a bucket list with her husband. She had been at the library as a children's services associate for almost five years.
Dickeson will remain on staff through mid-August as a children's library assistant. After eight years working at the library, Dickeson feels it's time to return to the classroom so she's pursuing an elementary teaching position.
"It's never been a question of ‘if,' but ‘when,'" she said. "I've been able to use my teaching skills here, but when I walk into schools, I feel at home. I'm excited to return to that."
Calling Dickeson a "kindred spirit," Wiykovics said their past experiences as well as a love for children and reading enabled them to have a great partnership during their five years working together.
"I loved Amy's drive to make everything she did fun and interesting for the children, as well as her enthusiasm, love of children and passion for early literacy," Wiykovics said.
Noting that their strengths and sense of humor complimented one another well, Dickeson said it was a blessing to have a co-worker such as Wiykovics to brainstorm with and gather honest feedback from.
"I would dive into crazy projects, and Katie would reel me in, keep me on pace and make the checklist," Dickeson said. "She was the organizer for sure, and I'm sad she's gone."
They are both proud of how the children and young adult areas have grown to be as user-friendly as possible for kids and their parents. The creation of the children's area at the new building, a switch from traditional shelving to bin shelving, the start of a baby storytime, as well as a growing collection of books are just some of these changes that Dickeson noted.
Library Director Pamela Mogen said the quality of programs and interactions with children by both Dickeson and Wiykovics was a constant reminder that reading as well as the library activities that accompany it are "a thing of wonder and excitement for children." She also praised their creative, tireless work planning the annual summer reading program.
In addition to creating a fun summer program, Mogen said the pair's expertise in reading as past elementary school teachers helped refocus the children's library work to literacy and school readiness.
"They have transformed our children's story times into early literacy programs, meeting the needs of the child as a learner and the parent as their first teacher," Mogen said.
Both said they plan to stay involved at the library by serving as substitute clerks, working at special events and encouraging others to utilize the library and its many resources.
Wiykovics said she will miss watching children during the story times as they enjoy the songs, finger plays and storybooks, while Dickeson said she will miss regularly seeing the kids and families she's connected with.
"The library is just a building, but the people make it a special place to be," Dickeson said.
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Looking to the future
The Liberty Lake Municipal Library received a number of applicants for a Children & Youth Services librarian position posted in the spring. Library Director Pamela Mogen said she hopes this position will be filled by early August.
Also, the library is making plans to honor the service of Amy Dickeson and Katie Wiykovics. A box will be placed in the library in August to collect cards and letters from those wishing to show appreciation to them. For more, call 232-2510.
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Book Review: Biography contrasts siblings' fates
By Daniel Pringle
Liberty Lake Municipal Library
Jane Mecom-youngest sister of Benjamin Franklin, widow of an impoverished debtor, mother of 12 children (11 of whom preceded her in death or madness), her life disrupted by revolution and hardship- believed poverty and affliction were "intailed on my famely." Her brother, that first great example of American industry and ingenuity, rather showed that through a life lived on a principle of constant self-improvement, the youngest son of a candle maker could become the most illustrious writer and thinker in our history.
Jill Lepore's "Book of Ages" tells the story of the Franklin siblings as a contrast between circumstance and opportunity. What we know about Jane and their relationship, accumulated in 30 years of correspondence and a slim, hand-bound volume in which she recorded life's events, disproves her belief. Jane had the same capacity for hard work, love of reading, engagement in ideas and wish to express her opinions as her brother but, as a female in the 18th century, was denied the education and employment that might have let her reach her potential. Once the burdens of family eased in her later life, she took to the pleasures of reading, writing and "agreable conversation."
Lepore touches on many themes and ideas, including the place of women in the 1700s, the development of written culture in America and the Revolution, the purpose of history and the limits to what we can know about another time. As with all good biographies, the examination of the individual informs our understanding of the events that took place on the grand stage, and in the story of one woman whose life suggested an unrealized possibility, reminds us of a promise we can still achieve.
Daniel Pringle is adult services and reference librarian at the Liberty Lake Municipal Library.