Award-winning library worker loves her job
Claire Osada enjoys getting to know Lake Bluff Public Library patrons to better recommend selections. | Michelle LaVigne~Sun-Times Media
Updated: January 23, 2013 9:10AM
LAKE BLUFF — Lake Bluff Public Library Technical Services Assistant Claire Osada received the 2012 Oberman and Rich Award of the Reaching Forward Conference of Library Assistants, an award established in 1995 to recognize the work of library employees for community residents.
Living in Lake Bluff for 26 years, Osada has worked at the library for 12 years starting when she was a Lake Forest High School student. Doing a lot of work behind the scenes, she also maintains and prepares incoming books for public use, reshelves returned items, substitutes for absent co-workers in a variety of areas, and often meets patrons when working the circulation or reference desks and in the children’s department.
“She’s always thinking, asking questions, always looking for ways to provide better service,” said Library Director Eric Bailey. “In my mind, she completely embodies the idea of libraries moving forward to change with the times.”
Head of Technical Services and Acquisitions Carlen DeThorne wrote in the award’s nomination form: “. . . The library has grown to rely on her as one of its most valuable staff members.”
The following is an edited interview about her work and the award.
Q. What attracted you to library work?
A. I used to come to the library as a child. A staff member left and encouraged me to apply for the job. I was 16, filled out the application and was hired. I loved it. Plus, this job always fit well with my school schedule. Now I attend College of Lake County in the Library Technical Assistant Program.
Q. What do you like best about your job?
A. What I really like is interacting and getting to know people who come here. It’s easy to help people find books they’re interested in once I know more about them. This creates an opportunity to recommend books.
Q. What is your favorite format for reading?
A. I like printed books. I really like turning the page of a printed book. I took a Readers Advisory course a year ago and that opened my eyes and introduced me to new genres. I really like the Janet Evanovich books right now, for example. I like mysteries.
Q. What is one of the best things about the Lake Bluff Public Library?
A. We have a great collection of pretty much everything. As things evolve, we stay on top of it. We offer our patrons different options, such as downloadable books (onto their Kindle). We can teach patrons how Kindle (e-books) work. We have adult and children’s programming. We also have a very small collection of local history. The Historical Society is located here in our building, too.
Q. Do many of the village’s 6,000 residents use this library?
A. We have a very large patron base. We have use-statistics that show people are coming here in great numbers.
Q. How do people react when they learn you are a librarian?
A. Many people think it’s the most boring job in the world, but it’s not at all. Every day I’m here, new situations occur. It’s a great feeling to be able to help people and help them find what they’re looking for.
Q. How do you learn about books you want to read?
A. I take recommendations from friends or co-workers. I’ll read books that many people are coming in to check out. I only occasionally look at book reviews, but mostly I read what looks interesting to me. Mysteries are my most favorite reading.
Q. Are you planning a career in library work?
A. Yes. I’m not sure what the future holds (for libraries), but I’ll just adapt.