The DeForest Area Public Library welcomed a new member who will oversee the library’s extensive calendar of adult events.
Erin Dedin joined the library staff on April 19. Originally from the Village of Minooka, south of Joliet, Illinois, she took a roundabout way to library administration.
First a psychology major at St. Francis, she realized that her interest was less in the details of the brain, but more in the area of character development, leading an English degree.
After graduation, she found her way to her hometown library, in part explaining on her applications, “because there are books there.” In short order, she found many of the actual demands of the public library to be non-book-related.
“Libraries are kind of a community center,” said Dedin. “You have opportunities to help people learn there and it’s just a wonderful place in general. So I thought, this is what I want to do.”
After 2 1/2 years there, Dedin pursued a master’s degree in library sciences at the University of Wisconsin in Madison, receiving her degree in May 2018. She returned to Illinois and served as the adult services librarian at White Oak Library before hearing of an opening in DeForest from a librarian friend in Oregon, Wisconsin.
Dedin comes to the library at a moment of uncertainty, filling the role previously held by DeForest librarian Jane Henze and at a moment in which community members are returning to group activities in what is hoped to be the waning months of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Jane’s leaving me with a wonderful foundation,” said Dedin. “For a small town library the programming is very robust. It’s amazing: the amount of programs she has set in place, the amount of programs she has done, it is awesome.”
As we approach dates of summer events, like the library concert series, Dedin explained that she is largely managing events that have been coordinated and organized before her arrival. If all goes to plan, she has time to get acquainted before she is putting new items on the calendar.
“The pandemic really puts a damper on things,” said Dedin. “On the one hand Zoom programs being there already is a big help, because you can reach a bigger audience, on the other hand though, it is a hindrance, particularly in marketing, because you don’t know how you’re reaching them.”
That digital framework also gives Dedin a lot to play with as they go forward, for example potentially drawing presenters from programs she had been involved with in Illinois.
“And then I’ll get to know the patrons a little bit more,” said Dedin and we’ll see what kind of programs they are in interested in while I’m finding my footing.”