Charlie Touseull Special to the Arizona Daily Star

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

The first branch I was introduced to was the old main branch, which is now the Tucson Children’s Museum. My parents also took me to the Mission and Valencia branches quite often, where I followed stories and browsed the stacks. At the time, they seemed never ending, places of wonder, places of magic.

As I grew older, I discovered that I enjoyed writing. This, in turn, inspired me to be a songwriter and vocalist for several metal and hardcore bands in the Tucson area over the past three decades. Those experiences in the music scene gave me a glimpse of how people working together could create a better place out of almost nothing.

These acts of community building and mutual aid had a profound impact on me, eventually influencing me to seek a career that promoted literature, education, and creativity.

People are also reading…

I recently became a public librarian after working for the last 15 years at the University of Arizona. While I enjoyed working in a prestigious academic library, I realized that I could best serve my hometown by using my skills and passion for information sharing and literacy by working directly with my community.

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

That rich history, that depth of experience and diverse perspective, is what makes our physical and electronic collection so exciting to browse. No matter the subject, libraries are important places that help anchor our collective understanding and perceptions of the world.

I love what public libraries stand for. We offer places for education, recreation, relaxation, networking, safety, creativity and tranquility, just to name a few of the attributes our diverse customer base has come to appreciate in our spaces.

Chances are, if you ask 50 people what they think of their local library, you’ll get the same answer. Our library can be a place for a teenager to do homework or for someone without internet access to use Wi-Fi. It can be a place to find that new best-selling novel, or to watch a bunch of DVDs to enjoy 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 music performance. Libraries are places that help our community to actualize the best version of themselves while building stronger connections with their neighbors.

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

In each location, library staff are doing their best to provide exceptional service and create a welcoming environment for all who come through the doors.

There are no other places in our society 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 to be part of an organization rooted in true empathy and equal service to all proves All those years I spent in school and working 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 kindergarteners. For the kids, seeing me in that silly costume provided a unique experience that made them see libraries as a place of wonder, a place of magic.

Directly involving my community in small daily acts of positive change and personal growth is something that brings me joy. It gives me hope that I am helping to build the foundation for something brighter to come.

Charlie Touseull is the Tween/Teen Librarian at Joyner-Green Valley Library. In his free 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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