Meet Beth of the Synapse Team!

In this blog series, we're introducing members of the Library's Synapse Team. Today, we're excited to introduce you to Beth, Library Services Manager, Joel D. Valdez Main Library.

What do you do to turn things around when you're having a bad day?

I do brain-writing all by myself (because I am the only one who can read my writing), or I draw. I brain-write and draw – to get perspective, or unpack something; find new ideas, or think out something that will feed my sense of peace and possibility. Other times I bounce on a rebounder, kind of like bouncing on the bed as a youngster, only my fifty-something-year-old-self huffs and puffs a lot more; aspiration is good! I do not have a rebounder at the library, however. 

What's a common piece of advice you don't agree with and why?

“Fake it till you make it.” This is essentially like putting your game face on, and doing more, and working harder, stronger and longer, as if that is the only thing that will produce results, or satisfaction, or rewards.

I mean, why should a person fake it, when they feel resentful or resigned, stalled or weighed down?

Instead of intense determination, I try to listen to the heart on my sleeve, the pressure in my veins, and my red-hot blush face. I pay attention to the story that they tell me.

What's the best advice you were ever given? Who was it from?

“The essence of balance is -- knowing when you have lost it,” which is a version of an anonymous quote “The key to keeping your balance is knowing when you’ve lost it.”

This came through performance coaching for me. Yes, I am working with a coach, who has reiterated to me that losing balance could create a defining moment. That moment has the potential to make a better future, especially depending upon how soon I am able to regain that balance again, and keep going, keep learning …

Sources of passion—whether it is the “positive impetus of what brings you joy or painful lessons from the school of hard knocks”, both are wells from which you can draw meaningful goals… No Faking.

What energizes you at work? What kinds of activities energize you in general?

What energizes me is my check-ins, with the peeps, Stephanie, Librarian-in Residence with the Juvenile Detention Center, the Friends of the Library, and Margie, the Literary Arts Librarian... checking in on all things related to procurement, presenters, and grants. Regular check-ins allow me to make a connection with people, and not just to get their signature, hah! I like to just be present, and experience people conducting themselves and the way they pursue their jobs.

I also greatly appreciate being able to work with the Synapse Team. They are an extremely dedicated and talented team and the camaraderie is a bonus. 

What’s a small act of kindness you were once shown that you’ll never forget?

We have a wonderful person who comes and keeps the house up every other week. Even though she spends 7 hours shining up our house and goes to another house after that, she will show up bright and early with food—the best dishes, charro beans, posole, chili … She says, "I love cooking," and “I love cooking for my ladies.” I think most of her ladies are in their eighties, like my mom. I think—some people—kindness is just an integral part of who they are.

Who is your hero? Why?

Hildegard of Bingen, also known as Saint Hildegard and the Sibyl of the Rhine. She spent her childhood in the cell of an Anchoress next to a monastery, and eventually became a community leader and monastic troubleshooter, consultant exorcist, prophet, and a prolific writer with her own advisors and secretaries, and illustrators. She wrote in the area of natural history, medicine and cosmology, from music to poetry to theology. As an author, she stands alone for a person of her time (12th century). I got interested in Hildegard in college, when a professor of mine said it was a way women beat the mortality rate in the Middle Ages—having visions, and isolating in caves and convents, instead of having children, the Plague or the other realities of serfdom, and the times.

Where would you be right now if you had zero obligations and money didn't matter?

I have a ginormous inner critic. Therefore, a big focus would be to get a driver, and see pretty places with a cute sidekick, most likely a dog (love cats but I am allergic).  

And … make drawings, or a record of all of it.  Big goal is to stay curious, be patient, and train my mind to see what is beautiful and silly, to entertain the inner child, and to banish the critic.

What motivates you most to come to work?

Most of what I do is very task-oriented, immediate, what is right in front of me. Alternatively, I am managing coordination, resource allocation, deadlines, efficiencies, and consistencies, process. And… sometimes, what I do seems very solitary, behind the scenes.

Therefore, I do have a drive to work playlist. Songs like, Calypso, by John Denver or Unstoppable by Sia, Catch my Breath by Kelly Clarkson get me downtown…

Also, there’s just a lot of awesome people at work. 

So sometimes, on the way home, my guilty pleasure is listening to old, tired, and sarcastic Rumpole of the Bailey, streaming on audiobook. One way or another it reminds me that I like my work-a-day life, and the people I work with.