Anne Crawford celebrates 10 years as Assistant Branch Manager and Youth Services Librarian at the Ponte Vedra Beach Branch - St. Johns County Public Library System where she enjoys working with kids and teens, inspiring them to love reading and libraries.
What can you share about your background?
I was born in Atlanta, and primarily raised from second grade in Norcross, Georgia by two wonderful parents, Bill and Cathy Snyder. My younger brother, Frank, is a foot taller than me with a super-deep voice, and we had a Siamese cat named Sammy, and later a Jack Russell Terrier named Skye. I had special needs: I was born partially deaf and attended the Atlanta Speech School until I was mainstreamed into public school in second grade. I also grappled with ADD after mainstreaming. While my home life was great, school was tough, particularly middle school and high school, due to bullying. All of this informed the person I am today and makes me that much more determined to help put more kindness into the world and encourage youth to do so as well.
How did you choose Stetson University?
My parents were born and raised in Palatka, Florida, and every summer until I was 22, we vacationed at my parents’ “hometown beach” – Crescent Beach on Anastasia Island – at the beach condo they still own. I knew, at some point, they would retire to this very beach, and since we are so close, I wanted to live near them if I could in the future. That’s what initially made me consider Florida schools. I thought about Flagler, but as I was still a dedicated clarinetist, it didn’t have performance opportunities, but Stetson did. I found out that my paternal grandfather got his bachelor’s degree at Stetson, and once I visited the school, I fell in love.
What inspired you to pursue library science at FSU?
I took a year off from school after Stetson to figure out what I wanted to do. Teaching wasn’t quite the right fit for me, but through my work with the St. Augustine YMCA, I still knew my passion was working with children and, through the Storytimes I created in my work with the Y, firing up kids about reading. I was in charge of Kindergarteners and first graders in the after-school program at Hartley Elementary, and every day, they clamored for me to read “The Foot Boot” by Dr. Seuss after I read it a few times. When I noticed they could recite it without my saying a word, I decided to enter the whole group into the Y’s Talent Contest being held after school. On stage, these kids (now 25 and 26 years old!), performed “The Foot Book,” reciting the story and marching to the beat. They all won first place! I started thinking, what if I combine two of my passions – working with kids and reading? It turns out, as a Youth Services Librarian, I get to incorporate my third passion as well – music!
When and where was your first position at a library?
As of July 28, 2019, I will have worked for St. Johns County Public Library System for 16 years (10 here at PVB as of October 5, 2019). Branch Manager Amy Ring and I helped open the Southeast Branch Library in 2003. I was Children’s Librarian, and she was the Young Adult Librarian, both fresh out of graduate school. I was promoted in July 2007 to Assistant Branch Manager and Youth Services Librarian at the Anastasia Island Branch Library. I transferred to Ponte Vedra in October 2009.
How have library services changed since then? How have they remained the same?
Technology has been a huge game changer for Libraries since 2003. Smart phones and streaming opportunities didn’t exist, and the internet was still relatively young. Although our services and methods have adapted to evolve with these trends, our intent has not. We are still looking, with every interaction, to be helpful, to be accessible, and to be kind to each and every person we serve. More than ever, Libraries are community hubs that are helping to combat the distance all this technology creates, allowing for members of the community to share common interests, make friends and to simply feel accepted.
Tell us about your position at the Ponte Vedra Library.
I’ve had the pleasure of working as the Assistant Branch Manager and Youth Services Librarian since I was a newlywed in 2009. Branch Manager Amy Ring’s leadership inspires me every day. I also get to work with Maribeth Wood who puts her heart into everything, tremendous staff and Friends of the Ponte Vedra Beach Branch Library. But most of all, I get the absolute pleasure of working with our kids and teens, inspiring them to love reading and libraries, and giving them a safe place to be themselves.
Kindle or traditional printed book?
Both! Whatever format gets you reading is a big thumbs up in my book – pun intended. J
What's your favorite thing about working in Ponte Vedra?
My favorite thing about working in Ponte Vedra is the people. So many folks still remember when I was pregnant eight years ago and ask me with smiles about my daughter. Ponte Vedra – like the neighborhood I grew up in Georgia – can get an unfair rap of being an affluent community considered to be comprised of people who are aloof and unaccepting of differences. Nothing could be further from the truth! The people who visit the library are warm, kind individuals from a variety of walks of life and are so supportive of our efforts to be as inclusive and welcoming as possible. That attitude – from our patrons to our staff to our VolunTeens – is what allows us to especially reach kids and teens who may feel marginalized elsewhere but are at home and free to be themselves at the Ponte Vedra Beach Branch Library.