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Staff Highlight: Alan Gunther

Published Date: 
July 15, 2015

Has it Really Been Twenty Years?

It’s hard to believe that it has been twenty years since I interviewed for a part-time clerk position with the library. I raced to the interview that Monday morning back in April, 1995. I was coming from Lexington, MA, after watching friends of mine participate in the Patriot’s Day Revolutionary War reenactment at dawn that morning. I was exhausted, but apparently did well on the interview.

At the urging of Bill Keach, librarian and former manager of Smith Hill, I went on to library school. Many part-time classes and term papers later, I received my degree. I was at URI longer than the U.S. was involved in World War 2, and there were times when it certainly felt that way!

However, it’s been a rewarding rollercoaster of a ride. The patrons who were children when I started working here are now bringing in their children. I have crawled around the floor and rode tricycles for Cradle to Crayons. I have helped the kids with numerous homework assignments. I have worn the itchy Santa suit for many years, and I was even dressed up as a monk by our friends at the Laotian Community Center of RI.

One of the more enjoyable components of the job has been youth programming. I have been conducting a Model Building Workshop program after school for a few years now. It has been very popular. Kids have built miniature soldiers, cars, airplanes, and even a few tanks. My father introduced me to the hobby when I was about 7 or 8 years old. Aside from being a fun activity, it also teaches youth how to read and follow instructions. It also teaches them patience and persistence. There is also a historical element involved, as youth learn about the particular item or vehicle that they are building. As a child, that fueled my interest in libraries. I would sift through stacks of books trying to learn more about the airplane or tank I was building. It’s great to see that same thing happen with the youth here at Smith Hill!

And heres's a bit more about Alan!
Alan had the opportunity to interview his father recently for StoryCorps about the changes he's seen in Providence over the course of his life. Listen to that interview! 

Over the years, Alan has built relationships with the Smith Hill Community Development Corporation and cultivated active partnerships with Providence College's Feinstein Institute for Public Service. He is our staff representative on the PCL Board. And he loves Japanese punk music.

Thank you Alan for 20 years of service to the community and all the great work you do!