Q&A: Landau works for the readers of Brookings

Jill Fier

Jill Fier

Name: Elvita Landau

Title: Director of the Brookings Public Library

How long have you been working here?

I have been with the library for 19 years. I’ve been director for 16.

How did you decide this was the career for you?

I graduated from college with a degree in English education and I did my student teaching the second semester of my senior year and decided it wasn’t for me, that I didn’t have what it takes to be a teacher. A friend of mine said she was going to go to library school, and I thought that sounded like fun, so I went, and I’ve been a librarian ever since.

What are some of your job responsibilities as director of the library?

Manage and prepare the budget to submit to the library board, supervise personel, hiring, publicity.

What are some things that you like best about your job?

Seeing people satisfied with library services.

Being able to help them find what they are looking for. The look on a preschooler’s face when they find a book they want to check out. It’s a people thing more so than the paperwork.

And what do you like least?

Occasionally there are people who don’t value the library, and it’s hard for me to convince them sometimes.

Does working within a budget from the city ever make your job more difficult?

The city of Brookings, for the most part, has been very supportive of the library. They’ve had budget problems the last few years citywide, so all the departments have taken hits. That doesn’t mean we couldn’t do more things with more money, but they have done a pretty good job so far.

It’s always a challenge to have them divy up the nickels and dimes the way you want them to, and there’re always expenses that you have no control over.

Do you have a favorite book?

One? No, I don’t have one favorite book.

How about a top five?

Well, they’re probably things that I read this year because that’s what I remember.

I like the Marget Atwood’s Handmaid’s Tale. I liked The DaVinci Code and Angels and Demons, and Blessings by Anna Quindlen.

I read a lot of mysteries, and try to fit in some quality literature now and then.

You should never apologize for what you read, though.