Member Spotlight - Darnetta Bolton

April 18, 2022

This week's member spotlight is on Darnetta Bolton. Darnetta is a Youth Services Librarian at the Orland Park Public Library. She is a member of the Reaching Forward Forum and previously served as co-chair of the 2020 ILA Conference Program Committee. We asked Darnetta to tell us a little bit about herself and to answer a few professional and amusing questions. Keep reading to find out more about Darnetta. 

How did you get into libraries?

I had been a stay-at-home/homeschooling mom for about seven years, and I was looking to return to work. I loved reading aloud to my children, and we were regulars at the library storytime. One day, my oldest daughter said, “ Mommie, you should be a librarian!” and something clicked. Shortly after, I asked my local librarian how she got started in libraries and she suggested that I get a job in a library before applying to library school to see if I liked it as much as I thought I would. I started as a youth library clerk and loved every minute. I eventually applied to library school, received an ALA Spectrum Scholars Award, and as they say, the rest is history!

Best advice you've received since starting your career in libraries?

During my Spectrum Scholars Institute, I remember veteran librarians sharing tips for advocating for yourself in the workplace. Although the advice wasn't just for me it really resonated because I struggled with that in my first career. As I began my career in libraries, I only wanted to work part-time so that I could continue to homeschool my children. That advice has helped me to find a library position I love and where my experience as a homeschooler is valued.

Any advice to newcomers working in libraries?

My advice is to get involved. Attend ILA and ALA Annual Conferences and serve on a committee as soon as you can.

When and why did you become a member of ILA?

I became a member of ILA as a graduate student. I was eager to volunteer for committees because I knew it would keep me connected to my peers and gain valuable insight into the field. I am also a conference junkie and can’t pass up an opportunity to attend one!

How has being a member of ILA helped you professionally?

I have been able to meet and work with some amazing librarians as a result of my involvement in ILA. I really feel like I found “my people” when I became a librarian. ILA helps me establish and deepen those relationships and helps expand my knowledge on issues that impact the field of librarianship.

What is your proudest professional achievement to date?

I was the Co-chair of the 2020 ILA Annual Conference Committee. When we began planning, we had no idea that we would have to plan the first virtual ILA Conference due to the Coronavirus pandemic. The team pivoted to an online format with the help of the ILA Staff and Executive Board. Being on that committee was such a rewarding experience and one that I will never forget.

Hardcover, paperback, e-reader, audiobook or all?

All of the above and a special shout out to Hoopla. I’m your #1 fan!

Favorite author?

C.S. Lewis mostly because I love Narnia!

If you were stuck on a deserted island, what five books would you bring with you to pass the time until being rescued?

This is so hard because I really don’t like to re-read books, but here are five of my recent favorites :

  • The Yellow Wife by Sadequa Johnson
  • Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers
  • The Midnight Library by Matt Haig
  • Cornbread & Poppy by Matthew Cordell
  • Sparks Like Stars by Nadia Hashim

Cat or Dog?

Neither, but I have a dog! Long story…

Favorite film, podcast, or television show?

The Read Aloud Revival Podcast

One person you would like to meet, dead or alive, and why?

I’d really like to meet the staff of the American Library in Paris. After reading The Paris Library, and learning about the library’s role during WW2, I am interested in learning more about how they keep such rich history alive. Visiting the library is on my bucket list!

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