ALSC Voices | May 2018

ALSC Profile 

Celebrating colleagues with 25 years or more of ALSC membership

Gail NordstromGail Nordstrom
Public Library Consultant
Viking Library System, a regional public library system in the heart of "lakes country," western Minnesota
ALSC membership: 25 years

Where did you attend library school?

I attended a joint MLIS program through Rosary College (now Dominican University) and the College of St. Catherine (now St. Catherine University). St. Kate's has since established its own accredited program for which I occasionally teach.

What was your very first library position?

My first part time job in high school was as a Shelver for Hennepin County Library at the Southdale Library in suburban Minneapolis, one of the busiest public libraries in Minnesota in the late 1970s. The socially engaged librarians there (former ALSC president Gretchen Wronka among them) convinced me that librarianship could be a dynamic and satisfying career.

What do you love most about your current job?

Part of my job involves coordinating arts, cultural, and history programs for all ages with library staff in eleven independent public libraries, mostly in smaller rural communities. I marvel at the energy, creativity, and ingenuity of these intrepid librarians who enthusiastically expand programming opportunities for their communities – and at how responsive the public is.

Do you prefer being the driver or the passenger?

A passenger, but in the role of navigator. While on family road trips to new destinations in junior high, my parents would hand me the map, TripTik, and/or AAA travel guide and put me in charge of navigating. In retrospect it was probably a good tactic to keep me communicating with them and avoid falling into teenage sullenness. These days, while on road trips with my best friend, I still hold a map but share navigating responsibilities with a talking GPS device. I like to see where we're heading and have a say in how we get there.

Are you most comfortable in your kitchen or in your living room?

The kitchen! I especially love to handle the bounties of a CSA (community supported agriculture), farmers market, or the garden. At the end of the day or early in the morning, I love washing dishes and putting a bit of order to the chaos. During social gatherings, I've discovered the kitchen is a great place to hang out with other introverts, chopping vegetables or refilling food platters.

What’s your favorite myth, legend, or fairy tale?

Jean de La Fontaine's fable "The North Wind and the Sun," also attributed to Aesop. Its powerful moral provides great wisdom and guidance: "Gentle persuasion succeeds where force fails."

If you could close your eyes and be anywhere on earth when they opened, where would you be?

Anywhere with water: playing in the waves in Manuel Antonio National Park in Costa Rica, gazing at the Seine from Pont Neuf in Paris, or dislodging beaver dams in the creek in the yard. Water is intrinsic to my being, perhaps a result of being born under the sign of Pisces in the Land of 10,000 Lakes.