Meet Jess Crutchley, Storyville Coordinator

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Meet Jess Crutchley, Storyville Coordinator on LibraryAdventure.com
Each month, The Library Adventure profiles a library professional. This month, we’re talking with Jess Crutchley, who works for the Rosedale Branch of Baltimore County Public Library, where she is the Storyville Coordinator.

Jess Crutchley with Storyville's Mascot

Jess Crutchley with Storyville’s Mascot

The Library Adventure: Please give a brief description of your current position.

Jess: I am in charge of coordinating all of the varied needs of Storyville, an early literacy learning center with interactive play stations for infants and preschoolers to explore and grow while engaging in developmentally appropriate activities.

I participate in everything from toy and book selection to coordinating volunteers and interns to making sure the structures and space are maintained appropriately. I also provide programming and outreach for caregivers and their children to help foster school readiness. I get to do a little bit of everything every day!

TLA: Whom does your library serve?

Jess: The Rosedale Branch is located in the suburbs of Baltimore and serves a local community of over 31,000 people, almost 2/3 of whom have library cards. The community we serve is mostly middle class and English-speaking. Our branch caters to a large amount of job-seekers and a culturally diverse audience.

Since the Rosedale Branch features Storyville, it makes our customer service lines unique with many families that cross the city, county, and even state lines to visit us.  While this means we see many customers each day, not all of them come from our local community and may not be as likely to check out books from our branch.

TLA: What is unique about your library and/or its collection?

Jess: The Rosedale Branch is home to the very first Storyville, the coolest place ever for kids under six! Storyville is a child-sized village built inside of the library that is designed for children birth through age five to engage in interactive play with their caregivers.

Our goal is to help children develop the skills they need to be successful in kindergarten through play with their parents & caregivers, their first and best teachers! Storyville has seven themed areas including a house, grocery store, theater, library, baby garden, construction zone, and toddler bay that feature developmentally appropriate books and toys that help children build the foundation they need to be successful in school. Words never seem to do it justice, but believe me, it’s amazing.

TLA: Describe your path to librarianship.

Jess: I started out knowing that I wanted to work with young children, and the obvious path for that is education. I received my degree in Early Childhood Education, but took a short break after college when I worked at a book store.

During that time, I submitted my name for a potential long-term substitute teacher for the public school system. I was eventually placed at a special needs school in Baltimore County, and was then hired on as a full-time pre-k teacher. I stayed with the school for four and a half years.

Toward the end of that time, I was ready for a change of pace and was looking into transferring schools when the position of Storyville Coordinator became available. I was fortunate enough to receive a transfer offer as well as the Storyville position.

Storyville is such a unique place that I could not pass up the opportunity. I have to say that working at the library is one of the best things that has ever happened to me. I am so lucky to have found a job that is different every day and allows me to make use of the knowledge and skills I gained as a teacher.

TLA: What is one thing you wish library users knew?

Jess: I wish that everyone knew exactly how many resources are available to them through their library. There are so many things I didn’t know about that would have been so helpful in my personal life as well as when I was teaching. For example, I was amazed to find out that we have a language learning database called Mango that is free and would have been very helpful before I traveled in Europe.

TLA: Give a quick plug for a favorite library resource.

Jess: Of course Storyville is my favorite resource!  In addition to Storyville, I am really impressed with the variety and quality of our children’s programming for ages birth through teen, which is absolutely free for our customers! Check out the events on our website.

Thanks so much to Jess for joining us at The Library Adventure this month. If you work in a library and would like to be interviewed for a future post, please fill out our interest form.

About Katie Fitzgerald

Katie Fitzgerald holds degrees in English and library science, and has worked in small town and big city libraries, serving both children and teens. You can read her book reviews and posts about story time, picture books, and early literacy at Story Time Secrets. Also follow her blog on Facebook for kidlit quotations, story time suggestions, and interesting links.

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