After five years of working at the Milpitas Library, in early December, community librarian Stephen Fitzgerald moved on to work as Library Services Manager in the literary services department for the Santa Clara County Library District. Fitzgerald began working at the Milpitas Library in September, 2014.
As the community librarian, Fitzgerald was responsible for day-to-day operations such as making sure that everything was working in the building and making sure the staff was assigned to their correct positions.
“I was dealing a lot with the public, which I always enjoyed,” Fitzgerald said. “So if they had any concerns or compliments or any kind of interactions they could come to me and we could talk about whatever was on their mind.”
“Other than that it was just helping people get what they needed,” he continued. “That’s what the great thing about being a librarian is; it’s just helping people get information.”
At his new job, however, Fitzgerald will specialize in increasing literacy levels among Campbell community members, or “patrons,” as library staffers tend to call them.
“Not just adults, [we’re planning to increase literacy of people at] every level,” he said. “There is an initiative throughout the library system; it’s family literacy; it’s kind of a way for parents to help their children learn how to read by modeling behavior and tips and tricks that help you learn how to read. There are ways to help prepare them for that.”
Though Fitzgerald did not want to specify what initiatives he has in mind (in case they do not pan out, or morph into different initiatives), he does have a clear goal in mind: to look for ways he can help the entire Santa Clara County community have reading become a normal part of their lives.
Fitzgerald came to Milpitas with the hope of increasing the library’s technological resources. Over the course of his time here, the library’s technology has been updated, and Fitzgerald has introduced laptop kiosks, a popular resource among students.
“We did lots of different things,” Fitzgerald said. “We have laptop kiosks now, so anybody with a library card could check out a laptop and use it anywhere within the library. We have updated all our audio-visual equipment throughout the library.”
Though Fitzgerald has increased the use of technology in Milpitas, the core of his interests remains in literature and books. In fact, in a 2014 profile published in the Milpitas Post about Fitzgerald, at the beginning of his tenure at the Milpitas Library, Fitzgerald said that he left a nine-year job at a high-tech media company because his “love for reading and books won out.”
Fitzgerald’s passion for reading was born out of a family of “big readers.”
“I’ll read almost anything, though I don’t particularly like romance novels,” Fitzgerald said. “I’ll go through phases where I’ll read this type for a while and this genre for a while.”
“Strangely enough, I’m reading about pruning right now,” he continued. “I have a couple prune trees at home and I’m trying to figure out how not to kill them. I am also reading Man in the High Castle. I usually read one fiction and one nonfiction at the same time. ”