By Meghan Peterson
(July 10, 2022) — As many in our Haddam and Killingworth communities may know, libraries are vibrant sites of conversation, programming and, of course, reading for adults and children alike. Library staff help to make this all happen. Haddam Killingworth News/HK-Now.com recently spoke with Kelly Moore, Youth Services Program Coordinator at Brainerd Memorial Library in Haddam (920 Saybrook Road).
MP: Tell us a bit about your personal background (e.g., where do you hail from? where do you currently live?)
KM: I grew up in Meriden and spent a lot of time there, playing music, adventuring around the state with my family, and hanging out at Game Crazy and trading card shops. I currently live in Higganum, though I still hang out at game stores and trading card shops.
MP: Educational background?
KM: I went to Maloney High School in Meriden, where I was an avid band kid and played bari sax and tuba in the concert band and marching band. Our marching band attended competitions throughout the state and I loved performing at them. I went on to study music at CCSU and participated in six musical ensembles there, including the jazz band and brass quintet.
MP: Title/Position at BML
KM: I am the Youth Services Program Coordinator at Brainerd. I plan and run library programs for kids and teens, such as our weekly Storytime and Toddler Tunes programs, Teen Advisory Board, and video game and anime clubs. I also help plan and run larger events, like our yearly Take Your Child to the Library Day.
MP: What drew you to work at BML?
KM: I worked at Central’s Burritt Library on a whim and it was a lot of fun. My supervisor there encouraged me to continue working in the library field, and I decided I wanted to work with kids and teens because of the creativity and wide range of interests involved. I was drawn in by the architecture and vibe at Brainerd, as well as the camaraderie that comes with a library with a smaller staff.
MP: What do books mean to you? How does your passion for music connect with your library work?
KM: Books mean a lot of different things to me, but if I had to pick three things, I’d say knowledge, empathy, and motivation. I love reading nonfiction and learning new things about subjects that interest me, such as outer space, or even about things I’ve never studied before. I love reading fiction because of its ability to teach empathy by putting you in the shoes of a character whose struggles you might’ve never had to think about, or by posing moral questions that make you think deeper about your own beliefs. The YA book “Scythe” by Neal Shusterman does both of these things spectacularly and for that I always recommend it to patrons. I also find a lot of motivation in manga and adventure stories, as watching a character train their heart out or rise above a tough conflict always empowers me to try harder and do better in my life, too!
I love getting to share music with others, so being able to sing with the kids at Brainerd every week is a lot of fun for me. It’s always heartwarming to see them get excited about singing specific songs, or overhearing them singing their favorite songs again after the program is over. I also enjoy getting to bring in different instruments to show them, like my tuba or saxophone, and I hope that I can help ignite a passion for music in them as well. I always try to carry the enthusiasm I have for music into my work at the library in general–I think it’s important to approach everything with some amount of passion and enthusiasm, and the learning mindset that music has given me, coupled with the discipline I’ve learned from practicing, have helped me have a positive growth mindset at the library and beyond.
MP: What do you like to do when you are not playing music and reading books to kids and the adults who belong to them?
KM: I’m a huge nerd, so I love playing video games and Yu-Gi-Oh! with my friends in my spare time. I have an intense interest in video game repair, so I spend a lot of time taking apart game consoles and controllers and getting them back into working shape. I also play Super Smash Bros. Melee competitively, and I travel to lots of tournaments in and out of state with my friends to compete.
MP: What fun kid library programs/activities should we be on the look-out for this summer?
KM: The Library will be at the Higganum Farmers Market on July 15 and August 12 with free books and crafts for kids! Meigs Point Nature Center will be bringing their Travel Touch Tank to Brainerd on Thursday, August 4 at 11:00 a.m. This program is for kids of all ages and will feature a lot of hands-on fun with different animals and seaweed from Long Island Sound. We’ll also have an ice cream social to celebrate the end of Summer Reading toward the end of August. Storytime is every Tuesday morning at 10:00 a.m., and Toddler Tunes is every Thursday morning at 10:00 a.m.–plus, it’s never too late to sign up for our Summer Reading Program!
MP: Any other fun factoids about you to share with our readership?
KM: I can name every Pokémon. I’d say that’s a pretty fun fact! I’ve also read over 150 books, graphic novels, and manga so far this year. I’m hoping to hit 300 by the end of the year.
Photo by Scott Bowden