Meet Your Neighbor

Rachael Keating/Clinton HeraldGabriella Torres is the new Youth Services Librarian at the Clinton Public Library. Find out more about her in this week’s edition of Meet Your Neighbor.

Rachael Keating 2018

Gabriella Torres is the new Youth Services Librarian at the Clinton Public Library. Find out more about her in this week’s edition of Meet Your Neighbor.

What does your new job as Youth Services Librarian entail?

Basically I oversee the children’s department and the young adult department so I work with our teen services coordinator and my children’s staff and we work together to develop programming for the different age groups.

What kind of programming do you have planned for the next couple of months in the youth department at the library?

Something that we are going to start doing in February with our children’s department is were offering evening story time the second Thursday of each month at 6 p.m. That was an idea we had just to give parents who are working 9 to 5 the chance to come and experience a story time with their kids. On the fourth Thursday of every month we’ll offer Saturday story time and a craft. Other things that we have going on is we’re going to start bringing back Afternoon Adventures and that will be on Wednesdays from 2 to 4 starting in February. That will really focus on bringing in STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, mathematics) giving kids the opportunity to do hands-on stuff like making slime or doing science experiments. With our teen services we’re starting a book club in February on the third Thursday of each month. With that book club we’re choosing books that are either getting a lot of buzz or are dealing with contemporary issues. The first book we’ll be reading in February is “The Hate U Give” by Angie Thomas.

What is your favorite thing about working at the library?

That is a hard question because I really enjoy all of it. My colleagues are wonderful, they’re just so welcoming. The first day I started there was a beautiful orchid on my desk and a welcome card with some chocolate. I don’t know if I’ve ever felt so welcomed to join a team. Story time is probably the best thing ever, it’s so amazing. Just observing story time it’s wonderful to see the kids light up with the story.

How did you end up working in Clinton?

I was born and raised here so I came to this library as a little kid and then as a teenager. I lived in New York City for about seven years and then I lived in Seoul, South Korea for about six years and then in 2015 my husband, Simon, and I left. First we were in Mount Vernon, Iowa, I had a 10-month contract there. After that was up we took this huge road trip around America. When we came back to Clinton we realized this was where we wanted to be. It’s sort of this full-circle journey for me. It’s exciting to be back where it all started as a writer and poet myself.

What is your favorite book?

That is a tough question. I love so many books. For a long time it was Jane Austin. I just love Jane Austin. I still get a kick of Jane Austin. I love the Brontë sisters, Emily Brontë and Charlotte Brontë. I’ve always been into the classic female authors. I also read a lot of poetry as an actively publishing poet and also as an editor of a poetry journal. I love Ann Carson, she is one of my favorite poets. Another favorite poet is Layli Long Soldier. She’s a Native American poet and her work is amazing. I love to read so it’s hard to pick a favorite book.

Do you have any poetry coming out soon?

I have two pieces being published in two different publications coming out this year, one is in April and the other is later in the year. One’s an online journal, The Wanderer, and the other is a print journal, The Equalizer. I have two smaller books of poetry. They’re called chapbooks and I have one that came out in 2005 and another that was out in 2014.

Know someone you’d like to see featured in Meet Your Neighbor? If so, contact Clinton Herald Photographer Rachael Keating at rachaelkeating@clintonherald.com.

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