Judie McCann, who grew up in Portland, was recently hired as the town's new Youth Services Librarian at Portland Public Library.
“I got really excited when I heard about this job. It is kind of a natural thing for a librarian to come back to your hometown library,” McCann said.
For the last 10 years, McCann was the head of children’s and young adults at the Essex Library. McCann lives in Essex and has four children; 23-year-old twin daughters, a son in college and a 17-year old daughter at home.
“This was my library growing up," McCann said. "My mother, Sara Soboleski, was very active at the library. I remember when story time started. I have lots of family and friends here. It is very exciting to come back to all my roots.”
Asked what her plans are for the future, McCann said, “I want to add more programming for all ages. This is a great opportunity for more parenting programs. I’ve starting working with the librarians from the schools. It is great to make that connection.”
McCann’s enthusiasm comes through as her eyes light up when she talks about how welcoming the children and the staff of the library have been.
“At Essex, I started a program called Girls Zone for girls 13 to 15 years old. It is a celebration of the teenage years," McCann said. "I did this program with a grant from the Middlesex County Community Foundation Fund for Women and Girls. I would like to start the same program here."
The Girls Zone program was given an award by the Connecticut Library Association for “Excellence in Public Library Services.”
McCann holds a Bachelor’s of Arts in English Literature from St. Joseph College and has completed graduate course work in Children’s Literature and is working toward her Master’s Degree in Library Science at Southern Connecticut State University.
“I really enjoy working with TAB (Teen Advisory Board). They are a wonderful bunch of very helpful youth,” said McCann.
TAB is a teen-run advisory group of students in grades 6 and up. TAB advises staff on book purchases, programming and teen issues. The group is interested in new members. Teens interested in joining TAB should call the library.
McCann also has a background in teaching TLC (Teaching for Literacy Competency) for first graders.
“I love sharing my love of reading and getting children to read,” she said.
McCann doesn’t see any difficulty in working with the age range of 1-18.
“Each age brings their own awesome way of looking at things. It’s fun to help the different ages,” McCann said.
Said Portland Library Director Janet Nocek: “We are very happy to have Judie here. She had great community relations while at Essex. Her outreach efforts at Essex, her personality and enthusiasm make her a great fit for Portland.”