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New leader at the helm of Escalon branch library
librarian 6-12
Settling in to her role as the Escalon librarian is Kari Leos, who comes to the local branch with several years of experience in the library field. Marg Jackson/The Times

Bringing with her a wealth of knowledge and a love for the library, Kari Leos has settled in quite comfortably at the Escalon Public Library. She has taken over as the head librarian and couldn’t be happier to be at the helm, as she did some substituting here in the past and always enjoyed working at the local branch.

Before she jumped in to the library field, Leos was in property management but she soon discovered she was drawn to the library. Following that path, she started on the administrative side in 2007, working first as a part time office assistant. Later she moved in to a circulation assistant role and found that being in the library itself and around the patrons, of all ages, is where she wanted to be.

Leos followed a circuitous route; she also worked for Stockton Unified School District in library service and then did part time work at several county libraries, before ultimately joining the Stockton-San Joaquin County Library system full time in 2017. She has been at the Troke library site on Ben Holt Drive in Stockton for the past two years.

Along the way, Leos raised her family – her children are grown – and finished her Masters.

“I enjoy the people, the sense of community for sure,” Leos said of being part of the Escalon Library team. “Everyone is willing to pitch in.”

Leos stressed that there is literally something for everyone at the local library and said they have a 3D printer available for use as well as a dedicated play closet for youngsters including dress up clothes and other items for imaginative, interactive play.

She was also happy to welcome students from the outlying rural schools, Collegeville and Farmington, to the library for visits shortly before the end of the school year.

“We had lots of class visits that last month so I enjoyed meeting all the kids,” she said.

Leos and other members of the library staff were also on hand for the June 5 official Summer Reading Club kickoff, which was staged in the city’s Main Street Park. It featured a huge inflatable bubble pit with the foaming bubbles making for a sort of ‘slip and slide’ area for youngsters who didn’t mind getting wet; there was a bounce house with a giant slide, some cool treats, inflatable basketball games and a special storytime bus open for visitors. Leos pointed to the assistance of Escalon’s Public Works personnel in setting up the various attractions and also thanked the city for helping facilitate the kickoff event.

Sign-ups were taken for the reading club at the kickoff; those that were unable to attend can stop by the library to sign up and the club runs through July 31, with prizes for all ages based on the number of books read. There’s no limit to how many reading logs you can fill out, said Leos, and the more books read, the more opportunities for prizes. There will be a wrap up, an end of the summer party, which is planned for early August.

Ultimately, Leos said, her goal is to be responsive to the community and she is eager to hear any and all thoughts on how to improve the local library branch and its services.

“I’m open; we are open, if you have suggestions, let and us know and we’ll try to make it happen,” Leos said.

The Escalon Library is at 1540 Second Street.

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There was a huge bubble pit, some bounce houses, games, refreshments and even a storytime bus set up in the Main Street Park in Escalon for the June 5 Summer Reading Club kickoff hosted by the Escalon Library. Marg Jackson/The Times