Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Sandy Fouts

My previous occupations: Professional ballerina, department store clerk, elementary school teacher, Jazzercise instructor.

I began my library career as a substitute clerk at the Livermore Public Library in Livermore, California. Within a few years, I became a permanent clerk at LPL, and a library assistant in another town. In 2003, I decided to go back to school, at the age of 44, and become a librarian.  I was hired by the Hayward Public Library while completing the MLIS, but have returned to my home, the Livermore Public Library, where I now serve as a Supervising Librarian of Children’s Services.


Tell us about your current position?

As a Supervising Librarian of Children’s Services, I share employee management duties with the Supervising Librarian in Adult Services.   A  few of my responsibilities include, scheduling staff, reviewing time cards, collection development, outreach to schools, collaboration with community groups, program creation and implementation, staying current, and  my favorite part, serving my staff and patrons.   

What are the best and worst parts about working with young people?

The best part about working with young people is they love to have fun.  When they’re having fun, I have fun too. 

The worst part about working with young people can be the parents that accompany them.  While most parents are engaged, friendly, and cooperative, some parents can be absolute “fun suckers” — complaining about everything, never participating with their children, or are pushy and forthright.  

Some parents enjoy using the library as a babysitting service while they chat away on their smartphones and use the computer for hours through naptime and meals.  This drives me crazy!

Where do you see yourself making the biggest difference?

Nothing is more heartbreaking than meeting children who dislike or “hate” reading.   I often wonder where we went wrong, what made this happen?  As a librarian, I can make the biggest difference by providing abundant and varied choices in reading materials that are most popular and interesting for children.  

I provide programming that will connect children with books and the library.   I have the freedom, knowledge and ability to find that perfect book that will spark a child’s love for reading and learning and turn reluctant readers into readers for life.  


How do you respond when someone asks you, “Isn’t everything online?”

I answer, “There’s a sea of information online, the good, the bad and the unreliable!”  I am always surprised to find out how many children, teens, adults, educators, and professionals have no idea what reliable research tools the library provides.  This ongoing problem is the reason why I go out to the schools each month to teach research skills and library website navigation.

What’s the best piece of professional advice you’ve been given?

An incredible former Supervising Librarian at the Livermore Public Library said to me one day, “I never go home until I’ve helped or inspired at least one person each day.”  I strive to live up to her example. 


What fictional character would you most like to be for a day?

Jennifer “Cam” Jansen from the Cam Jansen Super Sleuth series.   Having a photographic memory would be nice at my age.  Solving crimes would also be fun for just one a day.

How/where do you hope to spend your retirement?

I’m looking forward to spending my retirement on our Catalina 38 sailboat, visiting far away places.

E-mail Sandy at 

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