ELIzabeth nicolai
youth services coordinator, anchorage public library
High school graduation / ready Network

elizabeth nicolai

How long have you been with (your company/organization)?
I have been with Anchorage Public Library for 7 years -1 year in my current position. Before that I was the branch manager of the Mountain View Library and prior to that I was a youth services librarian at Loussac.

What do you like about working for (your company/organization)?
The great thing about working for a public library is I get to work with the entire community for the entire community. Our job is to connect people to the resources they need. During my day I might get to sing songs with babies, help preschoolers find a really great picture book, help a school child do research for a report, organize an author event, work with a partner organization to create opportunities and programs for youth and parents and more.

I love the variety in the work and the ability to engage with people of all ages and stages of life.

How did you hear about the Network?
When the Network was first starting, there was a presentation for library staff. I also attended one of the first community conversations. 
Of course since at the library we are passionate about literacy and education, this was a perfect fit. There was never a question that we would join. It was mostly trying to figure out where best we fit in since we do so many things.

What project(s) in the Network are you involved in?
One of our youth services librarians works with the kindergarten readiness network because early literacy is one of our top priorities as a library system. I joined the high school net work to help provide resources to kids to be successful in high school.

How does your day to day work relate to the Network?
Every day we work to help connect people with resources that can help them. We start at birth with baby time (a special storytime that focuses on early literacy in infants as well as play and fun) and go all the way to senior citizen classes such as information about Medicare.  We provide a lot of daily reference assistance to students and a lot of early literacy education for caregivers.

What do you hope for the future of the network/projects?
I really hope we can move the needle and raise high school graduation rates, early literacy and kindergarten preparedness, and overall scholastic performance in Anchorage schools. Also I hope that the library specifically gets to build more partnerships with other community organizations that can result in cooperative programs even outside of the scope or umbrella of the network.

Use three words to describe your 90% by 2020 experience thus far:

  • Invigorating
  • Connecting
  • Potential