The Cloud of Closures Has a Silver Lining

There is a bright side to the Valley library closures. Platt has attracted even more of the most experienced and enthusiastic professionals in the LAPL system.

Last issue we introduced Friends members to the Clerks they meet at the checkout counter. As promised, now we’re delighted to introduce the Librarians who have recently arrived to help answer your reference questions and expedite Platt’s various programs.

Nancy Brennan, Children’s Librarian reassigned from Woodland Hills Branch


Nancy was born at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, she states, and grew up in Texas and California. Graduating from UCLA with her Bachelor’s in History, she moved to cross-town-rival USC for her MSLS.

Nancy’s library work began early, as a page in Ventura County during her junior and senior high school years. While attending USC, she worked as a trainee for Inglewood Public Library. Upon graduation, she accepted the Children’s Librarian position at Watts Branch of Los Angeles Public Library. She subsequently worked at John Muir and Mar Vista branches as their full-time Children’s Librarian. Following the birth of her first child, she remained active as a substitute librarian at every branch of the Western Region. Then, in June of 1998, she returned to full-time status as a children’s librarian at Woodland Hills Branch.

It was her broad range of interests that led Nancy into the wide world of librarianship, where books on every possible subject abound. Her understanding husband, Michael, a former LAPL messenger clerk, is retiring this year from Lockheed-Martin. Her two children, having reached the age of reason at last, are midway through college and a research assistant in Washington DC, respectively.

Vicki Clarke, Young Adult Librarian


January 2, 2002, Vicki embarked on her new profession at Platt Branch, bringing with her a 19-year background in computer sciences.

Raised on Long Island, New York, Vicki earned a Bachelor’s in Business Information Systems from Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, Virginia. She then became a computer systems programmer for a West Coast-based consulting firm "filled with librarians and computer folks—a great combination!" she recalls. Moving on to Litton Computer Services in Woodland Hills, she also worked on her MLIS from UCLA, intending to design library databases. But during her summer internship as Reference Librarian at Santa Monica Public Library, she got hooked. "I stayed for 18 months," she says, "because I discovered that I really love being a public librarian."

Married to another computer buff who consults as an Expert Witness in computer software and related technologies, Vicki has two stepchildren: Ellie, a senior at Chaminade College Prep, and Jerry, a sophomore at Alemany High School. She fills her spare time with yoga, sailing, and projects ranging from setting up a church library to classes in native plant gardening, building websites for friends, and training her Labrador retriever.

Dan Cormier, Young Adult Librarian


Dan came to Platt Branch in 1998, directly upon completing his MLS at the University of Western Ontario in Canada. Born in Halifax, Nova Scotia, he had already graduated from Saint Mary’s University with a Bachelor’s in Finance and received an MBA from Dalhousie University. He says he set his sights on a career in library science when he discovered he preferred research to working at a bank.

During his MLS studies, Dan gained valuable experience in computer reference resources as a research analyst for Atomic Energy of Canada’s Information Resources Center and for the Competitive Intelligence project at Nortel Networks. Since joining Platt’s staff, he has worked to make Platt more user-friendly for today’s high school and college students, as well as established a mutually beneficial exchange with teachers and youth organizations.

Just six months ago, he married his fiancee, Beth, who was also working at Nortel Networks while earning an MLS — and who is now a librarian at Porter Ranch Branch. As a respite from library concerns, Dan enjoys football, and he also spends his free time coaching at Chaminade College Prep in West Hills.

Janet R. Gast, Adult Librarian reassigned from West Valley Regional Branch


Janet is a 30-year veteran of LAPL. She says this "just happened – one, two, three." Attending UCLA, she graduated with a major in literature and minor in science; went on for her MLS and teaching credential; then started working in the milieu she’d loved all her life.

Her first job was as a cataloguer and then Branch Librarian in Kern County. She joined LAPL in the early 70s, starting at El Sereno Branch as Young Adult Librarian. From there, she became Children’s Librarian at Brentwood Branch. Then she spent 20 years as both Young Adult and Adult Librarian at Studio City Branch, where she was very active assisting the Friends of the Studio City Library. While her children were young, Janet says she also worked at literally every branch in the east and west Valley on a bewildering part-time schedule. Finally, she settled back into a full-time position as an Adult Librarian at West Valley Regional. When that closed for renovation, she requested reassignment to Platt because, she says, "Platt’s happening," and she prefers fast-paced libraries with lots of patrons, programs, and reference requests.

A native Californian, Janet lives in Tarzana with her three sons, who are now in high school and studying at (where else?) UCLA. When she isn’t working or mothering three sons, she enjoys "reading, drinking coffee, visiting other local libraries, and shopping."

Chukwuji Nwajei (pronounced choo-K’OO-gee n-WAH-jay), Adult Librarian reassigned from Valley Plaza Branch


Originally from Nigeria, Chukwuji received her Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Usmanu Danfodiuyo University, Sokoto State. She went on for a MLS from Kent State University in Ohio. While pursuing her Masters, she worked as a Library Assistant in the Periodicals Department at Stark County District Library in Canton. After receiving her MLS, she transferred to Reference Services as an Adult Librarian.

When Chukwuji decided to relocate to Los Angeles last March, she joined LAPL as an Adult Librarian. Her first assignment was to Valley Plaza Branch, where she found a "great staff," she says, "who were all willing to help one another serve very grateful patrons." Reassigned for the duration of renovations, she says of Platt, "Once again, I’m working with a great staff."

This is a lady who loves her profession. "Being a librarian," Chukwuji explains, "I get to meet different people every other day. I enjoy researching reference questions — love using computers — and the idea of transferring information to and from patrons makes this job so interesting. There is always something new to learn. One cannot stop learning. It’s quite demanding, but challenging as well." Still, she doesn’t hesitate to say she loves reading, listening to music, and watching movies, too.

(And in the next issue you’ll meet Platt’s new Messenger Clerks.)

The Friends of the Platt Library Newsletter is produced and maintained by Hearn/Perrell Art Associates. Editor: Therese Hearn
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