HINCKLEY – Rylie Carter is the new director at Hinckley Public Library, a position she started Oct. 15.
Carter originally applied to be the youth services librarian, but when that job was filled, she applied for the director’s job, becoming that librarian’s boss.
A native of Streator, Carter was home-schooled until she started college at Illinois Valley Community College in Oglesby at the age of 16. After attending Illinois State University, she graduated with a master’s degree in library science from the University of Illinois in Champaign in August.
Although this is her first full-time job, Carter, 23, has seven years experience working at the Streator Public Library.
Carter talked with MidWeek reporter Doug Oleson last week.
MidWeek: When you were a little girl, did you read a lot?
Rylie Carter: I did. I’ve always enjoyed reading. Being home-schooled, I could do it to my heart’s content.
MW: What did you like to read?
RC: I never read at my grade level. When I was young, like 10 years old, I would read classics. I loved Charles Dickens. But then, once I got older, I started reading younger books, like junior high and young adult books.
MW: Did you always want to be a librarian?
RC: Not always. I started out in school going for an English degree. But I wasn’t really sure what I wanted to do with that. My mom used to be an English teacher and I didn’t want to do that. But I just really loved English and writing and reading. My first job was at a library; I worked there for seven years in Streator.
MW: Was that before or after you graduated?
RC: Before. I was 16. I started the day after I started college.
MW: So how did you hear about the opening in Hinckley?
RC: I had first applied for the youth librarian, actually. That sounded like something that might be fun, but I wasn’t super excited about it. Since that was offered to someone else and I heard about the director job opening shortly after that, I thought I’d apply for that one, too.
MW: Is it challenging to be 23 and your first full-time job is a director?
RC: It is challenging, but I really enjoy it. I believe I am qualified for it. What I am doing here I had done in my previous job. But it is definitely a challenge, learning new stuff every day and being younger than the majority of my staff members – which hasn’t been a problem yet. But that is something I am nervous about.
MW: What do you think of Hinckley?
RC: It’s very nice. It’s very small and friendly. But you can sometimes feel like an outsider because everybody knows everybody. But everyone has been really, really nice so far and very generous in helping me through everything I need to do.
MW: Do you have goals for the library?
RC: I think everyone has goals. I would like to see the library fully involved with the community. That is something that has been in the works. A lot of things have been done. The library is on a really good path towards becoming a great library. It’s really good right now for the size of the town and the size of the building even. It’s really an impressive library.
MW: Are there areas that could improve?
RC: Right now, we don’t offer a lot to teens. That’s something I think a lot of libraries struggle with. Teens are hard to reach. ...It’s hard to get their attention and we don’t have the space for a teen room.
MW: What kind of staff do you have here?
RC: They’re excellent. Everyone knows what they’re supposed to be doing and they’re very helpful to everyone new. I’m new and Kate (Ross, the youth librarian) is new.
I have lots to learn.