Rosy Brewer has been a librarian for 40 years, six of them at the Mountlake Terrace Library. On Friday, she retired as MLT’s Managing Librarian.
Brewer came to Mountlake Terrace about 10 years ago and has been with Sno-Isle Libraries for eight years. She spent most of her career in California.
She had originally gone to school to study drama at Western Michigan University. When she decided she didn’t want to be an actress, Brewer found library sciences.
“I guess I thought I need to do something to make a living and several of my friends had gone to library school,” said Brewer. “And then… I was in library school and I got the bug, in the sense that this is meaningful work. I could really make a difference in a community.”
Brewer has seen libraries continue to be something meaningful, even in the current age where technology has a significant impact on communitie.
“We’ve had to evolve and change, we’re not just about books anymore,” Brewer said.
Most significantly, the library provides computers and Internet for those who don’t have access at home. “These computers are filled just about every single day.”
The library also provides online databases that people would not have access to unless they paid for them.
Brewer relayed a story about teaching a beginner computer class and meeting a woman from Korea. Several days after the class, the woman emailed Brewer to say she had been able to connect with her son in Korea, whom she hadn’t seen in two years.
Brewer says stories like that inspired her husband to teach the citizenship class offered at the Mountlake Terrace Library.
“We’ve had about 20 to 30 people become citizens because of our class,” she said.
Brewer said she will miss the people she interacted with when working at the library — not only the staff had she worked with every day, but the community as well. “I’m so used to coming to work and having that social element,” she said.
Her advice for those looking to be a librarian? Remember this is a not a profession for those who want to hide. You’re not going to be “the little old librarian who’s in the back corner.”
“It’s all about customer service,” Brewer said. “In terms of government, how many times do you really interact with the police or the fire [department]? But here we interact with people every single day. It’s really all about being out in the community.”
— By Lily Jaquith, My Neighborhood News intern