Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Person of the Week

As a Children’s Librarian, No Good-byes


Coralie Williams loves her job as head of children’s services at the Henry Carter Hull Library. Photo by Eric O’Connell/Harbor News

Coralie Williams loves her job as head of children’s services at the Henry Carter Hull Library. (Photo by Eric O’Connell/Harbor News | Buy This Photo)

Coralie Williams says she knew something was different the first time she walked into the Henry Carter Hull Library.

“One of the main reasons I came [to Clinton] was the library,” says Coralie.

Coralie grew up in Madison, and in the early aughts was looking to move. A friend drove her around Clinton showing her the sights and the town grew on her so much she moved to town in 2003.

Early on, Coralie met Lynn Hidek, who served as the children’s librarian for three decades.

“I had never met a librarian like her,” Coralie says. “She was loud and fun and fantastic and I wanted her in my kid’s life.”

Coralie was so fond of the library that when she was offered a chance to join the library staff, “I didn’t hesitate,” says Coralie, who has been the head of children’s services at the library since October 2017.

In her role, Coralie is responsible for planning activities and curriculum for children who visit the library.

“I love doing the children’s programs,” Coralie says.

Prior to working at the library, Coralie worked as a preschool teacher for 13 years. Coralie says that when she plans a program, she uses her background to choose programs that are both educational and entertaining.

“As an early childhood educator, I’m very intentional in my programs,” Coralie says. “I feel like when I walk through the door, I’m happy to be at work.”

Coralie says she enjoyed her time as a teacher, but that the library was her true calling.

“I had no idea it was my dream job until I got it,” Coralie says. “I have no intentions of leaving.”

During her time teaching, she had the opportunity to live in San Francisco, a city she thoroughly enjoyed. However, she missed her family on the East Coast and moved back to Connecticut.

For a time, Coralie ran the Best Beginnings kindergarten readiness initiative in the library years before she began working there.

One of her favorite things about being a librarian rather than a teacher is “I don’t have to say goodbye to the kids anymore,” she says—she now works with kids from pre-K all the way up to high school, and gets to stay connected with each kid, regardless of grade level or whether school’s in session.

One program that Coralie particularly enjoys working is the library’s summer reading program that has participants from newborns to ‘tweens logging the hours they spent reading during the summer. While children tend to slack off on reading in the summer months as the weather turns warmer, Coralie enjoyed the challenge of keeping readers engaged.

“The program was a big success” this year, Coralie says, noting that the kids logged more than 1,000 hours reading.

Coralie is conscious of the success of the library programs prior to her start there.

“I have extremely big shoes to fill and I want to continue their success and fill their footsteps,” says Coralie.

Coralie feels like she’s “part of a great community” at the library due to the partnerships she has with different organizations around town. In particular, Coralie says the librarians at the Joel and Pierson schools “are very welcoming.” Coralie also mentions partnerships with the Clinton Land Trust, Families Helping Families, Chip’s Pub, Clinton Insurance Center, and Cindy Stevens Fine Art.

“These are just a few of the many reasons why I feel honored to be part of this community and why I love and chose to live and work in Clinton,” Coralie says.

When she’s not at work, Coralie can be found watching her daughters, Ella and Clara Franzoni, play sports at The Morgan School. Coralie also enjoys walking her dog at Hammonasset and spending time with family in the area.

Eric O’Connell covers news for Clinton for Zip06. Email Eric at e.oconnell@shorepublishing.com.

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