Library notes: Rachael Fox gives freely in her ‘new’ library role

Rachael Fox has never been interviewed for the newspaper before and is clearly excited at the prospect — but not nearly as excited as she is about her new job.

She comes to the interview with notes already prepared, questions already answered, directions already established — just the way she’ll probably be doing her new job as Assistant Director of the Hood River County Library.

Rachael did not set out to be a librarian, she says. She graduated from the University of Oregon with a degree in women’s studies and at the time “had no clue” what she wanted to do with her life.

Her first job in Hood River was managing the Postal Annex.

Then came her epiphany. “I was at a parade in Amboy, Wash., and someone handed me a button featuring the Ft. Vancouver Library,” she says. And just like that, she knew what she wanted to do.

She went to work for the library as a clerk in 2002, initially in Cascade Locks and then with some additional hours in Hood River. She did a wide variety of tasks — “We all do everything,” she says — until the library’s recent, and thankfully temporary, closing. At that time her primary responsibility was ordering all the new non-fiction and fiction books. She was also writing a column similar to this one.

Meanwhile she had received her library degree from Emporia College in 2006 by driving into Portland one weekend a month for classes.

When the library re-opened Rachael was rehired as a cataloguing specialist, responsible for entry of all the electronic records having to do with library materials.

Then, when adult service librarian Kathleen Joritz left to be with her fiancé in another city, Library Director Buzzy Nielsen created the new position of Assistant Director and promoted Rachael. As part of her new role she also takes over Kathleen’s adult programming responsibilities.

“Besides assisting Buzzy I’ll be booking events and author readings, local and out-of-town presenters, as well as supervising public service clerks and maintaining the staff work schedule,” she said. She’ll also be responsible for eReader classes, concerts, and outreach into the community. “I want to expand the programming and have more literary-themed parties,” she added.

Along those lines Rachael is already thinking about more programs at Cascade Locks and Parkdale branches.

One of her most pleasurable projects, she says, is the Hood River County Library District Book Club which meets bi-monthly.

The May 16 meeting will focus on “Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress,” a novel by Dai Sijie.

Looking back, I want to know, why that certainty you wanted to be a librarian?

The answer is swift and sure: “You’re not exchanging money. It’s low stress. You’re able to give freely.”

And the new job? “I’m excited to be able to contribute to the citizens of Hood River County in a whole new way.”

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