My epitaph will probably read: “She was an enthusiast.”  I’m passionate about libraries, learning, music, art and design.  I thrive in diverse, collaborative environments.  My library career has spanned a broad spectrum of libraries, from inner-city and suburban public libraries to an extremely remote tribal college library as well as large urban research universities.  I have loved them all, and each one has led me to stretch and grow in new and unexpected directions. (For more information, see my website:  victoriabeatty.org.)

I’ve always been inspired by the great Library of Alexandria, which was, for its time, a truly universal library.  In addition to the great library and archive, it included state-of-the-art astronomical observatories, botanical gardens, and zoos, as well as classrooms and forums.  Universities are stunningly rich learning environments and offer a million opportunities for informal learning alongside their formal programs of study.  Oh, yes!  I wanted to swim in those heady waters forever!  Public libraries can do much more to reinvent themselves as the people’s university.

But how incalculably rewarding it is to be a part of a public library that is truly at the heart of its community!  To serve at the very core of our democracy, and to have a finger on the pulse of what people are thinking and learning about—from cradle to grave—has been one of the most inspiring experiences of my life.  Academic libraries have a lot to learn from public libraries about community and creativity.

The economic downturn has ushered in exciting opportunities to explore ways to “make our own fun” and I have discovered a latent genius for creating hands-on learning experiences supporting early literacy as well as lifelong learning.  Because I co-host a weekly preschool arts class, Page the Bookworm Presents: Learn with Stories, Music & Art, this blog will include a lot of cool and inexpensive crafts for kids and ideas for supporting early literacy.  The parents are clamoring for me to compile a book of crafts for kids, so this will be one step in that direction!

The four years I spent as a tribal college librarian at Diné College honed my craft as an information literacy instructor at the college level.  Now I am immersed in learning how to teach early literacy to preschool children, and I am also honing my craft as a storyteller.  Young children are amazing teachers.  It’s an exciting adventure every week @ the 21st century library!

“In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities, but in the expert’s there are few.”

—Sunryu Suzuki Roshi, Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind