Shant Aharonian, Toan Tran, Brian Morin, and Cathy Harbison make up the current Mid-City Library team. Robin Goldblum is the location’s manager but will be stepping into a new role as NOPL’s adult programming librarian in December.
“What I’ve loved about working at Mid-City Library is the beauty and people that surround us,” Goldblum said. “The Library staff work together to provide a meaningful experience for our community; and, in turn, we have a mutually respectful relationship because we get to enjoy and lift one another up and provide great customer service, which includes Library access, information, and a space for meeting others.”
One of Mid-City’s unique features is its Seed Library, which Morin established in the summer of 2017. Through the service –– which is sponsored by the Friends of the New Orleans Public Library –– cardholders can choose from 400 kinds of vegetable, flower, and herb seeds for free. Plus, they have access to Morin, who loves being able to help people plan their gardens and hear their success stories.
Tran, Harbison, and Aharonian all said they love being part of the Mid-City community, providing valuable resources to their neighbors and getting to work alongside one another.
“I like the idea of being a helper and being a cooperative member in our community,” Aharonian said. “To provide equitable service and access to technology to those who may have no other means to it, and to be a public space that is inclusive and welcoming to all walks of life.”
“I like working at Mid-City Library because of our wonderful patrons, many of whom tell us how happy they are to have a library in their neighborhood,” Harbison said.
“My absolute favorite thing about my job here is working with the best people, my co-workers, and the people who use this Library,” Tran said.
Two of those community members include Anne Rolfes and her 10-year-old daughter Myla. The two visit Mid-City Library almost every week, which is just down the street from their house.“I love the Library because they have so many books, especially graphic novels,” Myla said. “Each time you read a book it’s like you’re going on a trip yourself.”
For her mother, having the Library within walking-distance is a blessing.
“To me, the Library is a miracle,” she said. “Can I really pick up my phone, place an order for a book, and then have it magically appear just a few blocks from my house at the Mid-City location? I’m always grateful.”
But, Rolfes said the Library is more than just a convenient place to pick up reading materials. It is also a place she goes for “inspiration and to enrich her soul.”
“The Library is the gift that never stops giving,” she said. “In the middle of COVID and political division and hard things in life, the Library is a beautiful balm.”