Champions for the community

Congrats to Library staff, Kristi Bradford, Dana Moore, and Mary Sanchez...

February held some great news for them!

Dana Moore and Mary Sanchez were recently honored with a Community Leadership Award by Pima County Supervisor Ramón Valadez (District 2). The awards honor individuals whose tireless work is making a difference in their immediate neighborhoods, and by extension the entire region, a better place to live and raise a family.

In addition, Kristi Bradford was recently named a finalist in the Women of Influence Awards in the Government and Public Service Category. These awards honor outstanding women who have made significant contributions to the community.

We checked in with these Library rock stars about what these honors mean to them...

How does it feel to be recognized for making a difference in our community?

Mary: It feels great, although it's a team effort. Our staff comes to work everyday with enthusiasm and ideas to improve our community. People see us as being able to make a difference. Our connections with customers give us the opportunity to understand the challenges they may be facing and how we can best support them. 

Job Help and Computer Classes build confidence in those filling out online job applications. Homework Help, craft and STEM programs for teens, and Storytimes offer fun, interactive, and educational programs for all ages. 

What does the Women of Influence nomination mean to you? Why do you believe you are a Public Service Champion?

Kristi: I was shocked and surprised!  It means a lot to be nominated with other female community leaders and to be thought of that way! I always see myself trying and hoping to make each day easier for staff, so they in turn, can make the days better for all the people we serve. I see myself as a champion for them and their work in this busy northwest side community.

In what ways do you believe libraries enhance quality of life in Pima County?

Dana: In what ways don't libraries enhance the quality of life in Pima County? All communities benefit from having an informed and literate citizenry. Whether looking for the latest book by Colson Whitehead, attending  a program about the quilt code of the Underground Railroad, or having a place to hang out without having to buy something, the Library is a place for every one, regardless of socioeconomic status, to feel welcome.

What do you love about your community?

Mary: Eckstrom-Columbus is a really busy library, which is awesome. I love that we serve such a diverse and multicultural community. I started out as a Children's Librarian so I also enjoy the fact that so many kids and teens come in on a daily basis.

Do you have a favorite library memory?

Kristi: My favorite memories are when staff get together. I like the branch gatherings, be it lunch to celebrate birthdays, a dinner out with all of us sitting at a long table, or a trip to the Gaslight Theater or Music Hall. Everyone is fun and full of laughter. I also love the larger gatherings of staff from Summer Reading baseball games (in the old days!) to our annual fundraiser for the Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona. 

What makes you most proud about working for Pima County Public Library?

Dana: The thing that makes me most proud is that I don't have to be at work in order to share the knowledge and information I have access to at work. Say for example, if I'm at the grocery store and I overhear someone say they'd like to get their GED, but don't know how to get started, I can chime in and let them know that the Library can help for free! Being able to drop little pearls of wisdom that has the potential to change a person's life is incredibly gratifying. It's a bit like being a superhero, sans cape!

And of course, we asked Kristi, Dana, and Mary what they're reading!

Kristi: I just finished listening to Meet Me at the Museum by Anne Youngson. Now I'm listening to the third "Inspector Gamache" book, The Cruelest Month, by Louise Penny. I recently returned Patina Living by Steve and Brooke Giannetti. 

Dana: I just finished Potted Meat by Steve Dunn and I'm currently working on Negroland by Margo Jefferson, Said I Wasn't Gonna Tell Nobody by James H. Cone, and Compton Cowboys by Walter Thompson-Hernández.

Mary: I am always in the middle of a couple of books at a time. I'm currently reading The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin (for our library's Reads in the Desert Book Club) and The Splendid and the Vile by Eric Larson. I'm also listening to Weather by Jenny Offill.

The Immortalists

The Splendid and the Vile

The Compton Cowboys


Potted Meat

Meet Me at the Museum

The Cruelest Month


Patina Living

Said I Wasn't Gonna Tell Nobody