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My Introduction to the Alameda Free Library

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By Lena Geraghty, on June 9, 2014

The Alameda Free Library first opened its doors on August 25, 1877. Although it has moved locations more than five times and now consists of a main library and two branch libraries, its place of importance in the community has always been constant. My first interaction with the Alameda Free Library came in the form of an assignment. PUBA 710 Organization Theory asks each student to connect with a local organization, interview members of the organization, and analyze the organization using Bolman and Deal’s four frames (structural, human resources, political, and symbolic). I was already researching small municipality public libraries and I decided to reach out to my local library to see if they would be willing to participate in this assignment.

I have lived in Alameda, California for almost two years and had yet to visit the library here, which is less than a mile and a half from my house. My former elementary school librarian mom would not be pleased! My first visit to the library was to interview its director, Jane Chisaki. The meeting was at 9 a.m., right when the library opened. I arrived a few minutes early and was surprised to see about fifty people waiting outside to be let in. The crowd ranged from a preschool group, tied together with a bright red rope, to senior citizens carrying stacks of books to return. Ms. Chisaki says that it’s like this everyday. Seeing how important the library was to the community made me want put my budding public administration skills to work for the library in the form of a professional work experience.

This blog will track my progress designing and carrying out a research project for the library. I’m sure I’ll be drawing on my MPA@UNC course knowledge every step of the way. I’m looking forward to any feedback or comments. Thanks for letting me share my experience!

Alameda Free Library
Alameda Free Library
Tags: Library, MPA@UNC, community, research | Categories: Alameda Free Library | 4 Comments
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4 Responses to “My Introduction to the Alameda Free Library”

  1. Pat

    Lena, thanks for this post! I think I’m going to give the Alameda Free Library a visit this week as I haven’t been there in years!

    • Lena Geraghty

      Please do, Pat. They have a bunch of really interesting events coming up. The wolf expedition researchers are coming to speak in July.

  2. Maria Chiochios

    Hey Lena! I’m in the residential MPA program, but I’m originally from the Bay Area in Redwood City. I didn’t realize there was someone in the online program based in CA and you’re working at a library to boot. I use to work for San Mateo County Library and I’m getting a second master’s degree in Library Science. Any way, I’m heading out that way at the end of July to mid-August. If you ever want to meet up and grab coffee or something let me know. It would be nice to meet one of the MPA@UNC people. 🙂

    • Lena Geraghty

      Hi Maria! I’d love to meet up and maybe pick your brain about my professional work experience for the Alameda Free Library. Let me know what you’re in town.

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