Patty Linville says she felt like she was always keeping a secret during the 16 years she worked as Seward’s head librarian. “Secretly, I knew I always had the best job in the City,” she chuckles. So, as Linville faces retirement, she does so with mixed emotions.
Linville’s official title, as she steps down, is director of the Seward Community Library Museum. Her employment story includes an important period of change in Seward that peaked after a 10-year Seward community-driven and State of Alaska process resulting in the year-old, $10.3 million combined Library and Museum facility. Linville, a 36-year Seward resident, says opening the new facility was a high point in many Seward’s residents’ year in 2013, and it surely felt like an enormous accomplishment in her career.
Linville originally trained and worked as a teacher. She came into library sciences after she had been out of the workforce for several years. “I was looking for an advanced degree program to refresh my skills when I had a conversation with Katherine Nicholas, a former librarian at Seward Community Library. She told me about a new distance study program from University of Arizona for a Master of Library Science. It took me about one minute to decide that was what I would do. I finished the program in spring of 1996 and became the Seward Librarian in October of 1998.” During her years as a librarian, Linville earned a Public Library Administrator certificate (CPLA) and served on state and national library committees.
Like many an Alaska resident, Linville and her husband, Bob Linville, came north to work on the Alyeska Pipeline in 1976, but then moved to Soldotna for four years, Moose Pass and then Seward. During the winter of 1984-1985 the family traveled in Nepal and India. Returning to Seward, they settled down to raise their three children, and in 1986 they started commercial fishing. Bob was a drift gillnetter and in 1989 the family bought a set net site in Prince William Sound’s Main Bay, where the entire family lived and worked for 15 summers.
“While I had assumed I would be a school librarian when I started my Master of Library Science (MLS) degree, I found out that working as a public librarian turned out to be a better job than I had imagined. From helping figure out what people in the community want to read to working with them to create the new library museum it has all been a great journey. What more can one ask from a job?” reflects Linville. The Linvilles expect to remain living in Seward.
Friday May 23, 2014 is Patty’s last day at the library, stop by to say farewell!
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