New Member Profile: Cheryl Frances
Greetings! I am Cheryl Frances, and I currently serve as Youth Services Librarian at the Port Orford Public Library. My husband and I are enjoying making this remote southern Oregon coastal hamlet our new hometown.
I have found refuge in libraries since I was a young child, first in the Carnegie Library of Riverside, Illinois and, after our family relocated to Honolulu, the Hawaii State Library. I earned an AS in Commercial Art from Honolulu Community College, then went on to make the libraries of the University of Hawaii at Manoa my stomping grounds as I completed my BA in Liberal Studies.
In the early 1990s, we moved to Ashland, Oregon where I completed my MA in Fine and Performing Arts at SOU and briefly taught in the Art Department. Over the years, I have taught preschool through grad school and, as a lover of lifelong learning myself, later found it a natural fit to apply my curiosity, creativity, and knowledge to a Day Job as a librarian. My education continues with online studies and trainings and independent reading.
While living in the desert of far west Texas, I was a self-employed maker, traveling the country to sell my art at juried shows and galleries while also working as Circulation/Children’s Librarian at the Alpine Public Library where I was part of a proud team; our library was named as a finalist in the Bill and Melinda Gates/Library Journal Best Small Library in America in 2013!
These diverse experiences and places, including a two-year stint in the Peace Corps in Belize where I served as a Youth Development Volunteer, have shaped my worldview of emphasizing tolerance, respect, empathy, and kindness in all interactions. I believe these elements foster understanding and, in our increasingly polarized world, that libraries have the opportunity and responsibility to provide a model for strong communities.
Books of all sorts have remained my constant companions throughout, and my grandchildren keep me apprised of all the most current trends in children’s literature. As a child, I often favored books featuring whimsical illustrations and artistic subjects, in anticipation of my future creative endeavors. A favorite children’s book is From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E. L. Konigsburg. (Yes, I do believe everyone should get the chance to run away from home and live in the Metropolitan Museum of Art!)
Although much of my time is taken with library duties, I continue to maintain my art business, Frances Folk Art. I have fun applying my creativity in the library in the form of programming, displays, and promotion. I see a major part of the role of libraries of the future as filling gaps in arts education left by funding cuts in the schools.
I look forward to being part of the Oregon community of librarians. We rock!