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She will lead the children's storytime program, among other responsibilities

PMG PHOTO: COREY BUCHANAN - Jo Caisse accepted the position of youth services librarian at the Wilsonville Public Library.

Jo Caisse enjoys working with children. She appreciates their honesty, spontaneity and enthusiasm and especially likes helping them develop an aptitude for reading and a zest for books.

In turn, Caisse has devoted much of her career to this pursuit and will continue to do so in her new gig at the Wilsonville Public Library.

"It's just that they are so engaged and it's really great when a child, that lightbulb goes off when they are starting to learn to read," she said.

The library recently hired Caisse as a youth services librarian. In her new job, Caisse will help lead the popular children's storytime program, help manage the library's collection of children's books, work at the reference desk in the children's section and reach out to organizations in the community to broaden library use.

"A dream I've been thinking about is I would like to see every child, every teen in the Wilsonville service area have a library card," Caisse said. "To somehow have all of them use the library, to use this as a resource for not only themselves but also their family."

Caisse started her career running a mobile library that visited underserved areas in Marion, Polk and Yamhill Counties. She then received her master's in librarianship from University of Washington, worked in the children's book department at King County Library in Seattle and then eventually became an outreach coordinator for the Deschutes Public Library in Bend.

In her last position, she read to groups of children, reached out to the Latinx community and managed another mobile book program, where she visited places like childcare and juvenile justice centers.

"The one I started in Deschutes was reaching out to children that couldn't necessarily get in to a library (due to distance) ... I think with a book mobile program the advantage is (it helps you have) a focus of how you want to serve and who you want to serve in the community; that's helpful," Caisse said.

Caisse said the Wilsonville Library has a strong reputation and so jumped at the opportunity to apply when a job opened.

"I think the Wilsonville Library is terrific because they really have these creative, innovative programs and they're great at bringing folks into the library," Caisse said. "I'm really impressed with all that they do."

She is especially excited to lead Wilsonville's children's storytime program, which she said is more lively and involved than many similar programs at other libraries.

"What I'm used to is the individual librarian doing the storytime but here for the family story times that they have ... it's acting out doing the story which is great," Caisse said. "It's really, really interactive, a great way to draw the kids in and have the books come alive."

Caisse said she will also sort through the children's section to see if there are books she would like to add or changes she would want to make but that she has thus far been impressed with the categorization of the collection, which is in part based on genre and reading level.

"The one great thing about library is there is always that potential for change and making it more user friendly so I'll absolutely be taking a look at that," Caisse said.

She also visited the Wilsonville Community Block Party last week to promote the library and plans to meet with the West Linn-Wilsonville School District to discuss bringing library programming to schools.

Overall, she's excited to get to know the community.

"I am very pleased to be part of this community and I look forward to meeting the community," she said.


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