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Meet Esme Green of Goodnow Library in Sudbury

Today we’d like to introduce you to Esme Green.

Esme, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
It took me a while to figure out that I wanted to be a librarian, but I bet it was pretty obvious to those around me. My dad was an English teacher, I was named after a Salinger character, and we had no television. I spent a lot of time reading, developed a precocious vocabulary, and explored worlds in the books I read. After college, though, I didn’t know how to translate that into a career. I worked as a chef and a landscaper, moved from California to Montreal, and finally decided to take a backpacking trip around Southeast Asia, Australia and New Zealand. It led me on an amazing adventure, both externally and internally. After 14 months, I returned to Boston and was ready to find a path forward. I enrolled at the Simmons Graduate School of Library Science, and earned my master’s degree in 1998. I worked my way up from library assistant in the Harvard Chemistry Library to where I am today as the Director of the Goodnow Library.

Has it been a smooth road?
It’s been an interesting and unexpected road, but I wouldn’t call it smooth. As I mentioned earlier, it took me longer than most to find my calling. I was delayed by fear, for one thing. I didn’t think I was “good enough” for graduate school. I had had setbacks in my college career. I attended a small liberal arts college that was predominantly male, we read the works of exclusively male writers, and I had a hard time finding my voice in that environment, as well as relevance to my experience. This left me doubting my intellectual abilities. I worked through it though, and I am so glad I did, I not only got my master’s, but I have also achieved a level in my career that the young Esme would never have dreamed of.

Let’s touch on your thoughts about our city – what do you like the most and least?
I am very lucky to work in Sudbury and live in Cambridge; I get the best of both worlds! The Sudbury community is incredibly supportive of the library. There is also a strong culture of giving back. So in addition to the municipal support we receive, we have a strong corps of volunteers who help us with everything from daily tasks to serving on boards, like our trustees, Friends of the Library and Goodnow Library Foundation. More recently, with the opening of our Sara Sherman NOW Lab, we are seeking specialized volunteers who can share their expertise in science, engineering, arts, math and science (STEAM).

Living in Cambridge, I am so grateful for the excellent and diverse schools, parks, restaurants and activities. People often ask me if my commute is too long, and I always say “No! I get a beautiful drive through the country and an endless supply of audiobooks, thanks to my job at the library.”

I really don’t have any dislikes.

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