Library Stories: Ethan

Meet Ethan, the teen specialist at George Latimer Central Library (GLCL). If you've ever encountered Ethan at GLCL, he has probably greeted you with a bellowing "hello!" Since joining the Library a year and a half ago, Ethan has helped build out an incredible teen-centered program called Level Up which offers a safe, welcoming third space for youth ages 12 to 18 to create, hang out, and socialize. We sat down with Ethan to learn more about how he came to work in libraries and how he sees libraries impacting the lives of teens in our community:

What brought you to libraries?

My professional journey was a bit of a twisty one. I always thought my path would result in social studies education. My first real “big-kid” job was at a middle school, doing enrichment instruction. I loved this position. I was able to build a cohort of students and tailor my classroom to their needs. However, I began to realize structured curriculum education was not the best fit for me.I did a lot of searching through various career options and kept circling back to youth focused work at libraries. Being able to still connect and provide a meaningful space for the youth in our community, without being strictly guided by curriculum, seemed like a great fit. And it is! 

What excites you about working at libraries?  

My favorite workdays are the ones where I’m involved in hosting programs. Working with the teens of our community always causes me to laugh and make the day fly by.  

How do you think libraries improve communities?  

I think the most important way the library improves communities is by being free and open to everyone. As third spaces become more and more rare it is increasingly important to continue providing that for our community.  

How do you see libraries growing or adapting to meet community needs in the next 10 years?  

Little robots to help carry patrons’ books and materials? An AI integrated with our online database to assist patrons in finding some of our amazing digital items? I’m not sure, but with my limited library experience, it does seem that we are becoming more and more experienced with adapting to the shifting needs of our community.  

What’s one thing you’d like people to know? 

Fun Fact: That there are three types of north!  

  • Magnetic North, which moves over time! 
  • Grid North, which is used on maps! 
  • True North, which points to the North Pole 

Regarding SPPL, our libraries have really evolved from what they were in my childhood. Options like Createch and the Innovation Lab really showcase we are changing to meet our community’s needs. Libraries are not just a place for quiet contemplation, but a meeting place for all members of the community!  

Want to learn more about Ethan? He was our most recent participant of "Out of the Box" on our social media channels! Check it out.