Annie Wicks has worked for Pima County Public Library for a little over seven years. She is currently the Children's Librarian at Dusenberry-River Library and was recently "belled" by Ben's Bells, an organization that recognizes individuals who inspire kindness daily.
She was nominated by customer, Sarah W., who was driven to put Annie's name forward. Here's what she had to say about the nomination:
Annie runs Storytimes for babies and toddlers, and organizes the library's activities for kids. Annie makes the library a welcoming, warm place for children of all ages and backgrounds. She remembers names and what kids like to read, jokes with them, and has a kind word for every single child who comes in. I am frequently in the library with my 7-year-old son, Alex, and I am amazed at how many kids Annie knows by name and how she can connect with them and make them feel at ease with her genuine, relaxed warmth. Any time a new kid arrives for a library event, she is right there making sure they are welcomed and made a part of the activity.
I am so grateful to have people like Annie in our Tucson community. The library is an excellent resource for families with kids and Annie gives it life with her humanity and compassion. I strongly recommend Annie for a Ben's Bell and I know others in the Tucson community who patronize the library would agree.
We checked in with Annie regarding the nomination and her work at Pima County Public Library.
Why do you enjoy working at the Library?
I love working with such a diverse community. I get to talk to people from all ages and backgrounds every day. Without question, my favorite part of the job is working with children. Getting to know them and making them feel like we are excited to see them every time they enter the library is something that I strive for.
How and when did you meet Sarah and Alex?
I met them within the last year or two. He is a regular at our Read to a Dog program, which we offer every Friday. I like to call him one of our Read to Dog veterans. He is wonderful with the dogs, does a great job reading, and is just a great spirit to be around. All of our dog teams know Alex and Sarah and love when they visit the program.
How does working at the Library allow you to form deep connections with community members like Sarah and Alex?
The programs that I offer (Storytimes and Read to a Dog, in particular) give me the opportunity to offer fun, engaging programs for kids and their families. These programs also allow me to introduce myself to each family directly and strike up conversations. I want to be sure that every child and their family who comes in to the library knows who I am and knows that I am there to be a resource for them. Working with kids has changed my heart profoundly, and I am so grateful.
Do you have a favorite memory interacting with them?
Pretty much any time I get to talk to Alex is memorable interaction. I love talking to him about what books he is reading and how school is going. He is such a gracious kid with a wonderful spirit and laughs at even my most ridiculous jokes (which is why I like to keep him around!).
What does receiving a Ben's Bell mean to you?
It means the world. Ben’s Bells is one of my very favorite organizations. I love their mission, and I love what they have done for the community. It is truly an honor to receive a bell. The fact that I was nominated by my buddy Alex and his mom Sarah is icing on the cake.
Why do you love our community?
The Tucson community is different from any community I have even been a part of. We are a fairly large city that still wants to be a small town, and we have all different kinds of people who are living in all different types of circumstances. I love the laid-back life here, the culture, the food, and the people. Tucson is a very special place, and we have a very special community.
Do you have any favorite children's books? Are there any you'd recommend for Alex's age group?
I can tell you that, for Alex’s age (elementary school), I would recommend series such as Clementine, Alvin Ho, Ellray Jakes, Ranger in Time, Dragon Masters, Inspector Flytrap, Ivy and Bean, Critter Club…there are too many good kids books to name them all, that’s for sure.
What are you reading now?
I have two adult books on my nightstand right now, both of which I will start reading soon: Kristen Hannah’s The Great Alone and Paul Kalanithi’s autobiography When Breath Becomes Air. And, of course, being a children’s librarian, I always have a stack of kids’ books on my desk to read through.
May 26, 2020: Please note, Dusenberry-River Library is currently closed for renovation.