Caroline Hewins Scholarship winner Dylan Waddington (Left) and HPL President and CEO Bridget E. Quinn (Right)

Hartford Public Library is pleased to announce that Dylan Waddington of Andover, Connecticut, is the 2023 recipient of the Caroline M. Hewins Scholarship, given annually to promising library school students who intend to become children’s librarians.

Dylan currently works for the Willimantic Public Library as a Library Technical Assistant. She is currently working towards getting her Masters in Library Science degree from the Texas Woman’s University. “Libraries create a welcoming, inclusive, and fun space where children can feel free to express their creativity and imagination and I love being a part of that.” Said Dyaln.

Can you tell us a bit about your background and how you became interested in a career in Libraries?
I began my career as a preschool teacher after taking early childhood education classes in college. I loved working with young children, but I was looking to make a career change. I remembered some of my favorite childhood memories, which included going to storytime at the Mary Cheney Library in Manchester. It was at that point that I thought I might want to be a children’s librarian. I immediately looked for a job in a library so I could see if it was a good fit for me. I ended up loving it and haven’t looked back since! I am now pursuing a Master’s of Library Science degree.

Tell us a little bit about your experience volunteering and working in libraries.

I have worked in three libraries. I worked at the Windsor Public Library, and the Jonathan Trumbull Library, and am currently employed at the Willimantic Public Library. The main focus of my work in libraries has been running programs for children. My favorite programs to do are arts and crafts classes as well as storytimes. Another part of my job that I love is purchasing picture books for the collection. It’s a fun and very rewarding part of the job. I love that I found a career that utilizes both my early childhood education background and my art degree.

What are your goals for your library career?
My goal is to be a children’s librarian and to do my part to instill a love of reading and learning for young children. Libraries create a welcoming, inclusive, and fun space where children can feel free to express their creativity and imagination and I love being a part of that. I want to continue to serve my community by offering educational and engaging programs and events for children and families. I also want to participate in as many outreach opportunities as I can to spread awareness of what amazing resources public libraries have to offer.

What do you enjoy about working with children?
Working with kids is the best! It’s so much fun getting to witness the curiosity and imagination of children in the library. I love doing STEAM activities with kids because I get to see their natural inquisitiveness and enthusiasm for approaching problem-solving and exploration. Being able to build connections with children and their families is the most rewarding for me.  A librarian gets to play a unique role in being a part of a child’s educational journey and show them how much fun reading can be and I’m excited to be a part of that.

Have any book suggestions?

100 Mighty Dragons All Named Broccoli by David LaRochelle   Stickler Loves the World by Lane Smith   Poison for Breakfast by Lemony Snicket   book

Currently, my favorite storytime book is 100 Mighty Dragons All Named Broccoli by David LaRochelle. It always gets a laugh from the kids and the adults. The kids love to count along and try to figure out how many dragons are left on each page. It’s a really unique counting book with a lot of really funny moments.

Stickler Loves the World by Lane Smith is another picture book I love! It’s such a fun story with absolutely adorable illustrations. I love the message of this book about appreciating the little things in life and seeing things from different perspectives.

One of my favorite books is Poison for Breakfast by Lemony Snicket. It’s so delightfully weird. It’s a quick read, but very thought-provoking, peculiar, and witty.

I am currently reading Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan. This is the second book I’ve read by him and he is quickly becoming one of my favorite authors. I really love his writing style and quirky characters.

What is your favorite library memory?
As a child, I loved going to storytime and then checking out books and movies afterward- I distinctly remember checking out the VHS of A Land Before Time a few dozen times! As an adult working in libraries, it’s such a privilege to be able to facilitate those experiences and help create lasting memories for children in my community. It’s nice to spend time getting to know my patrons when they come to my programs because I am playing a part in building their library memories.

Is there anything else you would like to share?
I’m just so grateful to be the recipient of this scholarship!  It’s a great feeling to be valued in my field, and I hope that I will inspire others to see this field as a rewarding and inspiring career path.

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