Dublin staff are saying good-bye this week to long-time staff member Jennifer Brutschy.  Jennifer is leaving Dublin for a new job at Extension Services, working on the Bookmobile. Jennifer has worked at the Dublin Library for 19 years.  There are many, many library customers who have gotten to know her and come to depend on her during all these years. She started at Dublin in 1988, first working in Senior Services.  Later, she switched over to adult services and in 1993, when the Library experienced severe cutbacks in both hours and staff, Pat Zahn, the Branch Manager at the time, asked her if she might be interested in working in children’s services.  With such a drastic reduction in staff, no one was left to take it on.  Fortunately, Jennifer was interested.  She quickly restored a program of service to children, bringing back preschool storytime and working with outside performers such as Clara Yen, to enhance the program offerings of the Library. Later she was joined by a part-time librarian, Peggy Tollefson, and for the ensuing years the two of them were the children’s program at Dublin Library, doing storytimes, hosting visits from school classrooms, doing summer reading programs, organizing kid power volunteers, and planning summer events. 

Many people who work in children’s services in public libraries have also found success as an author of children’s books.  Such is the case with Jennifer, who now has 3 picturebooks published: Winter Fox,  Just One More Story, and Celeste and Crabapple Sam. Jennifer’s stories are very different from each other, but all reveal a similarly understated poetic and wise sensibility about how our connections with animals and nature, our own family and friends (even crochety old men), deepen and enrich our human experience.

Jennifer has been a writer and a storyteller, but she would say, I think, that the most rewarding part of her years in children’s services has been working with the kids –she’s been at it long enough now that she has seen children come to her preschool storytime, watched them as they grew up Jennifer Brutschy with Spencerand moved through elementary, middle and high school (helping them find homework materials along the way!) and is surprised (and delighted) to see them come in to say hello and they are all grown up. (Usually, they have gotten alot taller!)  This is a special thing to have offered that kind of continuity and influence in a child’s experience of their public library.  When I asked her once what was the most satisfying part of her job, she said working on the desk—one on one, answering the questions posed to her by the kids who were coming into the library each day.  Jennifer offered kids something they couldn’t resist; she genuinely liked them, she respected them, she was interested in their stories and always willing to listen, commiserate and go to bat for them, if necessary.  They learned this quickly, and flocked to her, asking for her when she wasn’t there and chatting her up when she was.  

Jennifer will be sorely missed by both her colleagues and her many fans in the community.  Her last day at Dublin is Friday, Aug. 24th.  Next week, she will start working full time, out of a Fremont office and riding the Bookmobile all over the County Library service area. You can check up on her at Dublin Bookmobile stops. If you missed getting a chance to say good-bye, please feel free to post a comment here for her to read later.  To Jennifer we say, we salute you, thank you for 19 years of wonderful service to the Dublin community and to the Library and wholeheartedly wish you the best of luck in your new job!