Where I Learn Things - (from) Erica

We all have people who make a difference in our lives. Spouses, coaches, mentors, friends, family members. They can be anybody really. Sometimes they can even be folks who are a lot younger than us... Really, anybody can teach us anything if we let them.

Today, I want to share one of my mentors with you. Why? Well, she is leaving our library division this week. It's not because she wants to go. There's a budget crunch. We need librarians at other locations. She is, in terms of service time - the "low person on the totem pole."

My friends I will miss Erica.

The upside is that Erica is headed to my "home branch," the Hilltop Library. I started there almost 24 years ago, made a pit stop or two at other locations and returned (home) in the mid nineties for a few years before coming to Main Library in 1998. They have a great group of people on their staff. I am friends and play hockey with the branch manager. The assistant manager is a good friend. Their Circulation manager was in my wedding, and is in fact another mentor in my life. Many of the staff members I was fortunate enough to work with are still at the branch. I know they'll take good care of Erica. She'll fit right in. It will all be fine.

The downside of course is that we are losing Erica here in our division.

I am devastated. I've been walking around all week in a state of denial, pretending it isn't really happening. Today is her going away party, (with Diana, another of our librarians who we will also miss) and the reality is hard to avoid any longer. Erica starts at Hilltop on Monday.

Life will be different from now on...

I've talked before about how, and why my outlook has changed in the past year or two, what things put me back on the positive track. I haven't talked about Erica.

She's been with us in the division for a little less than 2 years if memory serves. In the summer of 2008 we seemed to be scheduled together on the desk quite often.


Quite often Erica was talking about a project she was excited about, a techie thing that had caught her eye, or a weekend event she planned to attend.

Always talking - but always about something interesting. Erica's youthful exuberance was infectious. Her attitude made a difference to me and to the entire division. She made us all Glad.

I could go on and on...

Instead, I'll share an email I sent to Erica a couple months ago, when the library was considering the initial steps to handle our budget crisis, steps that all of us thought might include layoffs. Remember, she is the "low person on the totem pole."

That means a whole lot more when layoffs are a possibility, so I sent this the day before the "Big meeting to decide everything."

(*note - ultimately no layoffs were involved, and other cuts were made instead)

I've been meaning to say something to you for a long time, but I get kinda misty eyed thinking about it and so I'm embarrassed to say it in person, cause you know I don't publicly get like that.
I want you to know that you are a HUGE part of why I got enthusiastic about my work, about technology, about - well hell about caring what happens here, and with the library.
Your enthusiasm, your resolve, your zest for life were all there for me when I needed that kick in the ass. You're a difference maker, and no matter what you do, no matter what happens - you always will be!
I thought today might be a good day to spit all that out.
So there!
I can't thank you enough,

And I still can't.

Of course, we'll survive here in our division. We have a great group of folks.
But today, I just want to say out loud - so everybody knows...

Thank you Erica, for helping me find Jimmer again...


Erica said...


That was so incredibly sweet, and I can't even begin to tell you how much it means to me. This whole process has been hard. But I'm so lucky to have been able to get to know you, both personally and professionally, and I'm honored that you hold me in such high regard.

From the bottom of my heart, THANK YOU!! :D

Jared Cherup said...



read2akid said...

Jim, I'm so sorry our gain has meant your loss. I truly am. This was a moving tribute to a great lady. I think we need to plan an evening to introduce Erica to Tres Potrillos!