Stephanie Surrett is the City Spotlight for July.
It is no surprise that Stephanie Surrett’s career landed here at the Jacksonville Public Library, as her love of books started at a very young age. “I’ve always had a passion for reading,” says Surrett. My first recollection is my mom reading me ‘Green Eggs and Ham’ over and over again.” Surrett started reading at the tender age of three, and that still remains her favorite pastime.
Surrett has been at the public library for 14 years. Before the library, she worked in retail, banking, she taught 4th and 5th grade science for a brief period, and she also worked at the YMCA during college. According to her supervisor Barbara Rowell, “Stephanie has many qualities I value in a city library employee. She is a team player and always the first to offer help to me and her co-workers, even if it requires a personal sacrifice in her schedule. If I need an extra person in a busy public service department, a substitute facilitator in a public program, an advisor/preparer for food treats for patrons, or someone to stay a few minutes late, Stephanie is most frequently the one who volunteers. When we lost a long-time volunteer cataloguer several years ago, Stephanie eagerly expressed a desire to learn that job. She has continued to learn the specific challenges of book cataloging by computer and is resourceful in solving issues that we have with catalog records. Stephanie is known among the staff as thrifty and judicious with library funds in seeking library program supplies. Patrons know her as the go-to employee for book recommendations, most especially Amish novels. If anyone embraces the principles of public librarianship in terms of service and lifelong learning (her own & others), Stephanie does! She is a true asset to this department and the citizens of Jacksonville.”
Stephanie’s initial duties include; cataloging all the new books that come in, putting them in the system, working the front desk, helping out with the different programs that the library offers, and cooking for the special events. “We actually just help out wherever needed here,” says Surrett. “We all work together to insure the best programs possible. I love my job. I have met so many interesting people from all walks of life, I have learned many things from them.”
Surrett was born in Anniston and graduated from Saks High School in 1984. She then attended Jacksonville State University and graduated in 1989, with a bachelor’s degree in marketing. She received her master’s degree of science and education in 2003 from JSU. She is the daughter of Jimmy and the late Betty Surrrett. She has one brother, Jimmy Surrett, Jr., a sister Mandy Abernathy, one nephew and two nieces. She resides in Anniston with her two cats Sheba and Little Kitty. Both animals were found recues. “I love animals and hate to see them mistreated,” says Surrett. When asked about her hobbies she said, “I enjoy water aerobics, reading of course, photography, bowling and kayaking. Also, I really love baking.”
As a people’s person, Surrett loves the hands-on experience of planning and presenting special programs at the library. “I especially like Ladies Day Out,” says Surrett. “It is a half-day workshop the library offers each year. We try to offer a unique experience for ladies to come out and have lunch and learn something that interests them.” Stephanie takes it as a personal challenge to find unique, fun, and current experiences for the participants, such as self-defense, fashion shows, travel, chair yoga, pound, makeup and spa tips, cooking class at Zoe’s, ceramics class at Trinity Ceramics (with lunch at Noble Street Deli), small craft projects involving quilting (with instruction from the Joy Quilt Guild), and acrylics painting (with Paintology).
For three and a half years Stephanie has been working on her own time and initiative toward paraprofessional certification in cataloging, reference, collection development, as well as other library subjects by taking online courses offered by Idaho Commission for Libraries. Currently she has completed 13 workshops. When asked about future plans says, “After retiring from the library maybe I’ll volunteer at the animal shelter. I love animals, and of course I will never quit coming to the library.” As for being chosen for the July spotlight, Surrett replied, “I am surprised but honored. I don’t feel like I’m anyone special, but I am grateful that I’ve done something that merits recognition.”
Congratulations, Stephanie, for being chosen the city’s July Spotlight. Thank you for sharing your love of books and serving our community!