As part of our Meet a Librarian Series, Public Knowledge sat down with Elizabeth Perez, one of the librarians of the Main Children’s Center of the San Francisco Public Library. Elizabeth conducts children’s, tween/teen, and family programs, in addition to working with various community groups and schools to promote the use of and interest in the library. In addition, Elizabeth maintains the Children’s Historical Collection, branch displays and exhibits, and is a former member of the Cultural Awareness Committee, serving as the system wide selector of Spanish eBooks for adult, teen, and children audiences. Her main focus is to support people of all ages and their surrounding communities to have access to literature, increase literacy, and connect to all forms of technology to lead successful lives.
Public Knowledge: What are you currently reading?
Elizabeth Perez: I love to read lots of books at the same time. Right now I’m reading The War I Finally Won, by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley, and The Woman Who Run with the Wolves by Clarissa Pinkola Estés, and The Tropic of Cancer, by Henry Miller.
PK: How did you become a librarian?
EP: I like to think that it started in the fifth grade, when I was elected to be the class librarian! But my background is in writing. I taught at public schools and I was lucky to meet a lot of people who became mentors and pushed me to get my master’s and become a librarian, tying together my love for education with literature. It’s really joyful to be able to foster a love of learning and reading every day, from babies all the way to their parents.
PK: Is there anything that might surprise people about your library?
EP: People are often surprised to learn about our library system, in general, that we provide a lot of things that aren’t books, like museum passes. This has been very cool, especially for us, working in children libraries, because we are giving parents a resource that they can use outside of their home, to go to museums or attractions around the city that can be very expensive. This is a fun thing that families and kids can do for free, which is great.
PK: Who are you, in your non-librarian life?
EP: I am a feminist who loves my community, and a practicing photographer. I love walking all over San Francisco, discovering and photographing quirky and beautiful Victorian houses. I also love studying and researching the history of fashion.
PK: Anything else I should have asked you?
EP: Being at a library desk, no matter if you’re working with children or adults – it’s like playing Jeopardy all day long. People ask you questions and you have to either know the answer or know how to direct the person to that answer. So the more you learn about the world and other people and different topics, the more diversity you have in your interests, the better you are at helping people.