Local librarian shares lifelong love for the library with teens

Published 9:03 am Tuesday, February 4, 2020


STAR Correspondent

Harley Williams, who has worked at the Elizabethton Public Library for over a year, has been visiting the library since she was a child.

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Williams remembers attending storytime at the library as a child and enjoyed the environment.

“I remember all the interesting people it brought in,” she said. “I loved how if you needed help, they would help you, and if they didn’t know the answer to a question they would help you find it. It was very welcoming.”

Williams was often being brought to the library by her parents or grandparents.

“Over the summer I didn’t have much else to do, so me and my grandmother would come by about once a week and I would get stacks of books and go home and read,” she said. “It was great, I loved it. I’ve been fortunate enough to have family who would always bring me.”

At the age of five, Williams realized she wanted to become a librarian, and eventually went on to study for this career path at the University of Tennessee.

“Through UT they have a program called Practicum where you go work 150 hours at a library,” she said. “So I was lucky enough to do that before I started working here, and see a little bit of what it’s like behind closed doors. It made me realize this is something I see myself doing 20, 25 years from now.”

After graduating college, Williams wanted to moved back to Elizabethton and began working at the library where she works with teens in activities like “Teen Tuesdays,” which takes place from 3:45 to 4:45 p.m. Williams plans, and works on, activities for teens, such as working with clay, which they will be doing this week.

“I want the teens to know that we are here,” she said, “and that it is a safe place to come.”

The teen program extends to the ages of 12 to 18. In this program, teens are also encouraged to share their ideas, some of which are working on being included, such as doing crafts outside in warmer weather.

In addition to the teen program, there are also programs for children and adults.

The library also offers services in reaching out to neighboring libraries if someone is seeking an item they do not have. Audiobooks and ebook services are also available with “Libby” program, which can be downloaded at http://libbyapp.com.

You can have access to all services at Elizabethton Public Library by bringing in an ID with your current address on it or a piece of mail. For more information, you can check out their Facebook page, or call 423-547-6360. You can also contact Williams directly at hwilliams@cityofelizabethton.org.

“I wanted to give back to our community because I grew up here,” she said. “I grew up in Stoney Creek, and I know how important it is to have somewhere to go as a teen.”