For Tracey Thompson, the new branch manager at the Gig Harbor Pierce County Library, her work is all about making a difference.
Whether it’s providing access to information for returning students, helping housebound seniors find their next paperback escape or bringing reading alive to a reluctant reader by dressing up in authentic Renaissance clothing, it’s all part of the job for Thompson.
“I enjoy the difference we (librarians) make in people’s lives,” she said. “As a library we connect people with information and help people create information.”
Thompson started in her new position at the Gig Harbor library Sept. 1, coming from an assistant manager position at the Metropolitan Library System in Oklahoma City.
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An avid reader — who names her current favorite book as “Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore” by Robin Sloan — Thompson got her introduction to the library world as a library technician in Germany, where her husband was stationed with the U.S. military.
She went on to earn her master’s in Library and Information Sciences from Drexel University in Pennsylvania.
“I never looked back,” she said of her second career. “Some days it’s hard to believe they’re paying me for this!”
Coming to the Gig Harbor library, Thompson’s first big project is to oversee the library’s carpet replacement and temporary November closure.
The other project in store for Thompson is the continued expansion of existing library programs throughout the next year, including the youth and family services offered by the library.
One of these expanded services, the adult summer reading program, shows the Gig Harbor library as having the most participants out of the entire Pierce County Library System for 2015.
“The people of Gig Harbor really seem to love the library and are so supportive,” she said, adding that the library is always bustling with activity and patrons using library resources.
The ongoing challenge Thompson faces managing a public library is the wide demographic of library patrons, in both age and library-use needs.
“(The goal) is to meet all the different services and needs from the cradle to the grave. It’s a little more challenging because of such a wide range (of people).”
But this challenge is one she meets with enthusiasm.
“I love Gig Harbor,” said the avid reader and self-proclaimed geek. “Everyone has been so welcoming and amazing ... (and) our staff here is so talented.”
Thompson is looking forward to meeting more of the Gig Harbor community and encourages communication from patrons about their library needs. She is also excited to explore more of the library’s services herself, especially the 3-D printer.
“I’ve really found where I belong,” she said. “On the bad days, I remember we really are making a difference.”