2012-03-02 / Neighbors
Bringing books to life
Librarian named Public Servant of Year
From Louisa May Alcott’s “Little Women” to Paul O. Zelinsky’s “The Wheels on the Bus,” Mary Goldberg knows the children’s section at the Camarillo Library so well it’s easy for her to find just the right title for anyone seeking a good book.
Whether it’s a child during story time, a teen needing research for a school report or a wide-eyed new grandparent looking for the perfect bedtime book, the youth services librarian has made it her job to know what’s on the shelves.
“She is the face of the children’s room,” said Laurie Vanoni, library homework center coordinator. “Mary provides a place for all those generations to come together to find what they need. She creates a special place.”
As Camarillo Chamber of Commerce’s 2011 Public Servant of the Year, Goldberg says she’s just grateful that someone from the city’s library staff was recognized.
“I think it’s kind of neat,” said Goldberg, a Camarillo resident. “It shows the importance of this library and that what I’m doing is meaningful to people.”
Early love of literature
Goldberg first fell in love with libraries in junior high, when for her it became a place of refuge from the drama among the other girls on the campus.
While spending time in and around her school library, she developed a group of friends she remained close to all through high school. Each of the girls volunteered in the library.
“It felt comfortable,” Goldberg said.
She earned her undergraduate degree in communications from California State University Northridge and her master’s degree in librarianship from the University of Washington.
During college she worked at the West Valley Regional Branch of the Los Angeles Public Library, where she realized her passion for public libraries as opposed to a library on a university campus.
At a public library, she said, there’s a variety of programs and each patron is in need of a different type of book.
“You never know what to expect or who is going to walk in the door,” she said.
After graduate school, Goldberg married her husband, Alan, and became the children’s librarian at Simi Valley Library in 1981. She transferred to the Camarillo Library in 1985 for a few months before becoming a full-time mom for her children: Sarah and Andrew.
In 1995, she became president of the Camarillo chapter of American Association of University Women and the children’s librarian at the Moorpark Library. She transferred back “home” to the Camarillo Library in 2001.
Goldberg is also involved with the Kiwanis Club of Camarillo and is a team captain and committee chair for the American Cancer Society’s Camarillo Relay For Life.
‘I love to see them blossom’
Goldberg said working with children is rewarding because she sees them grow up from preschoolers at story time to teen volunteers. Unlike a schoolteacher who sees the children for only one year, Goldberg develops long-lasting relationships with the youngsters.
“I love watching the faces on the kids during story time and know they’re getting involved and enjoying it,” Goldberg said. “I love to see them blossom.”
She said literature is an important cornerstone of any child’s education, which is why the library is such an indispensable
— resource to the community.
“ The kids need to enjoy books and enjoy coming here so they become lifelong learners,” she said.
Part of teaching children about reading is to bring the books to life, said Mary Doherty, a library technician.
Doherty said Goldberg has a network of friends throughout Camarillo, Laurie Vanoni so she has many volunteers perform at the library for events.
“(Goldberg) helps everyone grow and feel part of the community,”
Doherty said. “She really brings people in and the library out to them.”
Goldberg will accept her award with nine other community honorees at the Chamber’s annual Top Ten banquet at Spanish Hills County Club on Fri., March 23.
The librarian said she’s honored to be included with such a dedicated group of serviceminded residents, but for her, work is like story time.
“We have so many special treasures here (at the library),” Goldberg said. “It’s not a job for me; it’s something I enjoy doing.”