Sunnie Jimenez lives in Perry but doesn’t work in Perry.
As a middle school teacher with the Dallas Center-Grimes Community School District, Jimenez knows many people in that area. But that wasn’t the case in her own community. She decided to do something about it, and became a library clerk at the Perry Public Library.
“I wanted to feel connected with the community,” says Jimenez, who has lived with her family in Perry for about eight years. She began working part-time at the library in December 2010.
Her job includes checking books in and out and helping patrons at the desk. She’s also helped teach a computer basics class in Spanish, puts together bulletin boards and is involved with the children’s programs.
The social interaction with library patrons, as well as with her co-workers, is her favorite part of her job, she says.
“The social aspect is really enjoyable,” Jimenez says. “I’m sure that there’s still lots of people I don’t know, but at least now I’m seeing familiar faces and learning names. We also have a really friendly staff here.”
Since being employed at the library, Jimenez says she’s learned a lot about the amount of work needed to make the place run smoothly.
“I think it’s interesting to see what kind of work goes on behind the scenes that maybe you don’t notice when you’re just a patron,” she says. “That’s not just with what the library employees handle or do, but even the volunteers.”
She’s also become familiar with the array of services the library offers, many of which, as a patron, she didn’t know existed.
“It really is an amazing resource for the community,” Jimenez says. “Whether it’s adult learning or computer classes — there’s just so many things you can have access to at the library.”
Jimenez, who this school year will be teaching sixth and seventh grade World Language and Culture, says as a teacher and library worker, she is helping people become lifelong learners.
“I want to teach my students not just language, but how to learn and how to enjoy learning,” she says. “And you do that here (at the library), when you help people find books or help a student with a project at the public computer. Both jobs promote lifelong learning.”