Member Spotlight - William Pleas

Reaching Forward North Committee

April 24, 2023

This week's member spotlight is on William Pleas. William is the page and volunteer coordinator at the Highland Park Public Library. He is a member of the Reaching Forward Forum and served on the ILA Conference Program Committee in 2020 and 2021.

We asked William to tell us a little about himself and answer a few professional and amusing questions. Continue reading to find out more about William

A little background on William

I currently serve as the Page and Volunteer Coordinator at the Highland Park Public Library which is a combination of working with the library shelving team, serving as library liaison for those who are interested in joining our volunteer pool, and providing support in our Membership Services department.  

On my own time, you can find me either catching up on some Sci-fi/Fantasy/Nonfiction reading, catching up on my never-ending list of podcasts, enjoying some random video game, or organizing one of my 200+ boardgames with card sleeves and inserts.  

How did you get your start in libraries?

I always loved libraries growing up but it never occurred to me I could work in one until one day back in 2011 a friend suggested I apply for a job at the library they were working at (thanks Jess!). I had what I thought was a solid interview but was saddened to receive a very kind rejection letter letting me know I did not get the position but would be considered for future openings. To my surprise and delight, I received a phone call about a month later asking me if I was still interested. It remains one of the fastest affirmative answers I’ve ever given. 

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

Whenever you find yourself dealing with a difficult patron interaction, take a second to breathe and then consider, if possible, the option that provides the most kindness and grace. 

Any advice to newcomers working in libraries?

Find a way to attend the Reaching Forward Conference as soon as you can. You won't regret it.

When and why did you become a member of ILA?

I have been a member of ILA since 2020. ILA has given me so much, especially though the wonderful experiences I had at Reaching Forward that it seemed only fair to give back by joining helping others have the same sort of career affirming experience. 

How has being a member of ILA helped you professionally? 

The ILA community and the programs/conferences they hold help provide a level of confidence and community that helps make working in the library setting both more effective and emotionally fulfilling.  

What is your proudest professional achievement to date?

After the events of July 4, I helped organize a blood drive at the library in an effort to provide support for the community. The success of this event has resulted in our library hosting them on a quarterly basis.  

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

I’m an e-reader fan for just about everything but cookbooks where I absolutely need a physical book. 

Favorite author?

Probably a tie between Mary Roach and NK Jemisin.

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

  • The Ultimate Survival Medicine Guide: Emergency Preparedness for ANY Disaster 
  • A Field Guide to Clean Drinking Water: How to Find, Assess, Treat, and Store It 
  • Reading Weather: The Field Guide to Forecasting the Weather 
  • Calm The F**k Down  
  • Gray's Anatomy for Students 

Cat or Dog? 

If I live an honest and good life, hopefully neither. 

Favorite film, podcast, or television show?

Lots of these! 

Podcasts: The Right Time with Bomani Jones, Waypoint Radio, and The City Season 1.

Films: City of God, Cooley High, and RRR.

Television Shows: Babylon 5, Neon Genesis Evangelion, and Blown Away.

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

Probably a tie between the first person to bake bread and the first person to use the cacao plant to make chocolate and both for the same reasons: to understand how they stumbled upon using these random things in the way they did and to express the incalculable amount of joy said discovery would bring the rest of humankind. 

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