One of Us - Amy Ring


Amy Ring is the Branch Manager at the Ponte Vedra Beach Branch Library. Ring previously worked at the Southeast and Hastings library branches before becoming branch manager in Ponte Vedra Beach, a position she has held for the past eight years. Growing up in Massachusetts and frequenting the two public libraries in her hometown, Ring knew from an early age that she wanted to be a librarian. When she’s not working, she enjoys reading, listening to audiobooks, baking, riding her bike and spending time with her husband and son. One of her favorite things about her job is the sense of community of the library — seeing frequent patrons and being on a friendly, first-name basis with them, and her job is even more fulfilling with the support of her staff and the hard-working Friends of the Ponte Vedra Beach Branch Library who dedicate themselves to making the library a pillar in the community.

Where are you from originally?

Braintree, Massachusetts. It’s where John Adams was from and his family, so my mother used to drag us to their house which is right across the street from the public library. That’s the first library that I remember. There were two public libraries at the time in Braintree. We lived down the street from the other one, so I could walk there, and my mother used to give me and my sisters a paper bag from the grocery store. We would each get one. She would say fill it up, however heavy you want it or whatever, but you have to be able to walk it home. My dad got us little luggage carriers, so we would strap them to that and then we would bring them home. And I also remember that’s where I knew I wanted to be a librarian.

How long have you lived here?

I’ve lived in St. Johns County for around 12 years. I moved from Illinois. I went to college at the University of Illinois and once I got my degrees, I was like, this is the time in my life where I can go anywhere. I had never been to Florida, but I wanted to be a young adult librarian and they were opening the Southeast Branch Library — that was brand new in St. Johns County. So I flew down for the interview, and I got the job. And then three months after I moved here, I met my husband.

Tell me about your family.

My husband’s name is Chad and we have an 8-year-old son named Rowan. My husband is a chef, so we eat and read well in my house!

What do you enjoy about your job?

I enjoy the people. One thing I do like is being on a first name basis with so many patrons. The regulars who are here every week and you make the connections. [I also love] our Friends group who does such successful fundraising for us and the board members [of that group]. I think there are plenty of boards anywhere where you are like pulling teeth for people to be on them. We generally have between 17 to 22 people on the board and they’re there for every meeting. They love it and they’re enthusiastic and they work so hard for this branch. They’re personally invested and it’s phenomenal. The staff is great too. Also, I love being around books. That’s so cliché but that’s totally a prerequisite for the job.

Does the library have any new or interesting programs coming up in 2016?

The Adult Coloring Club — the library publications have been talking about it across the country. I am looking forward to the club to see how it goes.
Coming up in February is our St. Johns Reads. We do a months-long list of programs at the SJC branches. Our book choice is To Kill a Mockingbird. The lady who played Scout in the movie adaption of the book, Mary Badham, is coming to the St. Augustine Amphitheatre Feb. 27. She will give a talk at 6 p.m. and then we’ll show the movie at 7 p.m. That’s the culminating event. On the same day here at this branch, we have the Sisterhood of the Traveling Plants is doing a “Spring Into Flowers” event based on To Kill a Mockingbird, with Depression Era tablescapes and that sort of thing. That event is at 2 p.m. The teen department is trying to fill some gaps by trying to offer a few more “What’s Up?” Wednesday series programs. The first one we’re doing is Wednesday, Jan. 13.

Who’s your favorite author or do you recommend any books you’ve read recently?

The Martian was excellent. My favorite book ever was The Life and Loves of a She Devil by Fay Weldon, and I like Irvine Welsh too. He wrote Trainspotting. And M.C. Beaton, she writes little cozy mysteries; she has two excellent series. It’s one of those quick reads.