In March I began my new career as the outreach librarian for Robeson County Public Library. I am delighted to start this new path, especially since reading is something that has always been an important part of my life. My passion for reading began when I was just a small child.
A strong foundation for reading was built for me as a baby when my parents and older sister and brother would read aloud to me. As I grew older, my love of reading never faded, but instead blossomed more. During my time as an elementary student, I often got in trouble for reading. Instead of focusing on my schoolwork, my mind was constantly thinking of the next book I would dive into.
Through reading, I was able to experience adventure, expand my imagination and gain knowledge. This desire resulted in many careless mistakes in my school assignments, which I rushed through in order to quickly grab my next book to read. As I reached adolescence, I remained an active reader. My middle school electives were spent working in the library. I assisted in book circulation and shelving books in the school library. Eventually I found a balance to allow me to read for pleasure, without it hurting my academics.
My strong interest in reading was one of the major factors in my decision to become an elementary teacher. After graduating high school, I continued my education at The University of North Carolina at Pembroke, where I earned my bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education. I focused all my electives in the area of reading, which resulted in my concentration of reading. I spent the next five years in an elementary classroom teaching third-graders. While in the classroom, I incorporated reading into each subject area of my lessons. However, I found myself wanting to reach more children.
A colleague of mine encouraged me to pursue a graduate degree in Library Science. I took her advice and enrolled in the distance education program at East Carolina University to obtain a master’s of Library Science. While in graduate school, I began working part-time at Robeson County Public Library in Lumberton as a circulation assistant. After having completed my degree this past December, I was later given the opportunity to transition to my new, current role as the Outreach Librarian for the Robeson County Public Library.
I never dreamed I would be sitting where I am today, but I am so excited about the road ahead. My current role as the outreach librarian gives me an opportunity to connect with the patrons of all ages across the county. I look forward to interacting with the community and patrons at each of our seven libraries across the county in Lumberton, Pembroke, Fairmont, St. Pauls, Rowland, Maxton, and Red Springs. We are also working to get our bookmobile, which was damaged in Hurricane Matthew, back on the road in the next few weeks through our outreach program.
Robeson County is a place full of milestones and memories that I hold dear in my life. I am looking forward to being a positive impact in our county.
Paula Walton is the outreach librarian for Robeson County Public Library.