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September 2009, Volume 1, Issue 9

Check Your Fall Calendars

Banned Books Week
Sept. 26 - Oct. 3

Indian Education Summit
Sept. 27-29

Festival of Books
Oct. 2-4 in Deadwood

SDLA Annual Conference
Oct. 7-9 in Aberdeen

Teen Read Week
Oct. 18-24

YARP Voting Begins
Oct. 18

In Focus

In Focus: Jasmine Rockwell

Growing up in Anderson, Indiana I wanted to be Laura Ingalls Wilder. Around age nine I realized that wasn’t really a career path or a major in college. But I could still read the books! Many librarians say they remember their childhood librarian who was so nice to them and let them read as many books as they could carry, etc. I honestly do not remember any librarians until about junior high, and that was because she was a long-time family friend. However, I do remember my childhood library. It was a beautiful Carnegie building that seemed huge to me. The children’s room was in the basement and there were little round reading carrels with beanbags in them. Though the city outgrew it by the time I was in upper elementary, the building is now the Fine Arts Center. For all you history buffs out there here’s the history of the Anderson Public Library.

Jasmine Rockwell, hard at work.

After my dreams of being Laura Ingalls Wilder were deflated, I thought I wanted to be a teacher. At North Park University in Chicago I learned that teaching wasn’t for me either, but I soon figured out what to do with my life. Inspired by a wonderful woman named Terri Rousey (my mom), I decided to become a young adult librarian. She is a school media specialist at an all-girls Catholic school. (While I may be turning into my mother I am not exactly like her because she has to do lesson plans and I do not.) So in order to live closer to my family who had migrated south to New Orleans, I worked in a coffee shop in the French Quarter for two years and thoroughly researched the MLIS program at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge (Geaux Tigers!). While there I also had a job in the Agronomy department where I learned to gin and de-lint cotton, no longer a useful job skill.

In March of 2005, I had two library interviews – one in Pierre, South Dakota and one in Queens, New York. While the allure of the big city was strong, the relatively low taxes of South Dakota were more appealing since I had school loans to pay off. Plus, the people seemed way nicer than the New Yorkers. So I accepted the job in South Dakota. My dad made us all watch Dances With Wolves before I left and told me that I didn’t really need a car, just a horse. My mother, being a librarian, started researching all kinds of things about South Dakota and she had an epiphany. De Smet was in South Dakota. She then exclaimed to me, “You are going to be Laura Ingalls Wilder!” In May of 2005 I graduated and two weeks later I started working at my first professional library job ever – the South Dakota State Library. Coming to Pierre also led me to the man of my dreams to whom I’ve been married for just over two years.

My job here has given me the opportunity to work with several grant programs (HOP, Gates, and Mother Goose), to help develop the summer reading program, teach librarians at workshops and Institute, to get involved with literacy programs on Pine Ridge (Hau Kola), and to move a whole lot of books and library shelves around. I have also hand-fed buffalo and vaccinated cattle, but not on work time. Always remember this, Colleen Kirby and I look a lot alike but you can tell us apart by the shoes – I wear the cute ones!


librarian, staff, Hau Kola

previous: Grant Opportunities | table of contents | next: Library Development

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