ALSC Voices | November 2023

ALSC Profile

Hand drawing of Starr LaTronica by Susan Bloom

Celebrating colleagues with 25 years or more years of ALSC membership

Starr LaTronica
Library Director
Brooks Memorial Library, Brattleboro, Vermont
ALSC Membership: 25 years

Where did you attend library school?

University of California, Berkeley

What was your very first library position?

I knew I wanted to be a librarian and someone suggested I start by volunteering, so I began my library career in the perfect spot for me—the Albany (CA) Public Library! It was tiny, but filled with books, devoted and interesting patrons, unique activities and terrific colleagues. I worked with two of the best librarians I have ever known, Elizabeth Overmyer and Joan Ariel. Eventually, I was hired to work part time while attending library school, and I had the opportunity to create my first puppet show (The Judge by Margot Zemach), contribute to storytime (Pierre by Maurice Sendak), and join the creative cohort that provided a wide range of programming including storytelling programs for adults and a mummer’s play. It was also the first time I canvassed in support of a ballot measure to provide designated library funding and met the incomparable and legendary Regina Minudri, steadfast and supportive Phyllis Partridge, and my dear friend and mentor Linda Perkins. There is not a single day that I do not channel one or more of those five women while working in this field.

What do you love most about your current job?

What I have always loved, from my very first day in a library—making a positive contribution, no matter how small, every single day in people’s lives. As a child, I came to libraries for the books. As an adult, I became a librarian because of the people. I became a director to support library services by working to institute policies that serve the community, such as eliminating fines.

What do you remember about your favorite teacher?

Miss Forward was my third-grade teacher and what I remember most about her was her kindness, to every one of her students. She treated each of us as individuals, and we knew she loved us. She also read to us every afternoon, and often created book-related activities or adjusted our lessons to reflect what she was reading (e.g. staging a spelling bee to demonstrate a scene from a book we had read). She is still an inspiration to me.

Who would you most like to swap places with for a day?

There is nowhere I would rather be.

Do you prefer being the driver or the passenger?

The passenger! I get to look around, choose the music, chat, daydream, even take a nap.

What is your favorite term people use to describe you?

Helpful...and enthusiastic.

What was your favorite thing to play with when you were a child?

When I was five, I got a doll’s washing machine with a round window in the front panel. I could fill it with water and use a little crank to agitate it. Then, in third grade, I got a Barbie, which is when and how I learned to sew. I still love to sew, and I don’t really even mind doing laundry, so there you are.

What is the best compliment you ever received?

When kids say, “you’re funny." Also, I was totally flattered to be featured in three books as a librarian character: Looking for Bobowicz and The Artsy-Smartsy Club by Daniel Pinwater, and Marked Man by Archer Mayor.