Each month, The Center for Public Humanities will interview a humanities scholar or community member and ask them everything from why they believe the humanities are important to what they're currently binge-watching. We hope that our new blog series, Coffee & Questions, will inspire you, introduce you to a variety of people and fields, as well as create new conversations.
Our third guest is Karen Pierce, director of the Slippery Rock Community Library. Karen loves books, loves talking about books, loves finding new books to read, and well, loves helping people to find books and information. Ms. Pierce used to sell books for children and the position of librarian was a perfect fit. She is pursuing her degree in library science at Clarion University. Karen notes the best part of her job is working with the people who walk through the library door. Ms. Pierce is "information central" and can answer most any question posed to her and if she doesn't know, she knows where to go to find the answer. She has been working at the library since 2008.
What inspires you in your current position/role?
I really like my job at the Slippery Rock Community Library. I enjoy being able to help people find information and solutions. I like being a point of information for the community.
What work experiences (past or present) have been the most educational for you, and why?
I was an Independent Educational Sales Consultant for Usborne Books. I learned so much from that job - marketing skills, including marketing not only the books but myself as well, working with the public, customer service and some computer skills. I loved selling kids books - really they sell themselves - they still are some of my favorite books!
What project(s) are you currently working on?
We are currently working on building a new library! I am very excited. We are located right now in a room that is 283 square feet and we've outgrown that room a long time ago. We've been raising funds and are ready to build a new library at 465 North Main St that will be around 2700 square feet. Our community is ready for this!
Why do you believe that the humanities are important to everyone, and not just people in academia?
I think the study of humanities is important for everyone! Humanities is the study and interpretation of language, literature and history among other things and I think it's good to be able to understand the context of a conversation. For example, a conversation in our current time is about the Constitution and how it was written by the founding fathers and how it is being interpreted today. Are we interpreting it the way our founding fathers intended? How has society changed in 200 + years? This is but one example of why humanities is an very important part of our education. Think of the other things we interpret - Religious texts, historical documents, ancient history - before the written word. We are shaped as a community by events that happened in the past and the things that happen today will shape how our community looks, acts, responds in the future.
What shows are you currently binge-watching?
I rarely watch TV live. I record Timeless and The Walking Dead. I am restless though so I usually can't sit through an entire episode without pausing it and doing something else for a while.
Thank you, Karen, for sharing how you're bringing humanities into our community. We look forward to the new library!
Check back next month for more Coffee & Questions. In case you missed Seth Bruggeman's interview, click here.
Want to be interviewed? Contact us.
Our vision is to create a community of learners enriched, engaged and enlightened through the humanities.