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New Library Staffers Happy To Be Here
As is often the case with rural libraries, the staff has 'turned over' again at the Escalon Library.

For the newcomers, however, they couldn't be happier about the change.

New Librarian Jamie Turner was most recently at the Troke Branch in Stockton and new Circulation Assistant Shirley Meeker had been in Manteca, but was laid off for a year before being brought back to work in the Escalon branch.

Turner has been with the Stockton-San Joaquin Library system for the past five years and, prior to that, worked in the Oakland Public Library for 17 years.

"It was by accident," Turner explained of getting into library work as her career.

She was attending UC Berkeley and needed a job; she was referred to the library on campus, where she was able to get some work.

"I took the job and liked it," she explained. "I was studying history and I realized there wasn't any money in that."

Not that there's a ton of money in library work either, she added with a laugh, but she said the job is one that she found suited her perfectly. She enjoys working with the public and said the Escalon community has been a very welcoming one.

For Meeker, she began working for the library system fulltime in July 2008 but was laid off two years later, in July 2010.

"I just got re-hired July 1, 2011 and prior to my layoff I was in Manteca," Meeker said.

She actually has 11 years invested in library work, starting out on a part-time basis before going fulltime in 2008.

"I've always liked libraries," she said.

Previously working with the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District, Meeker was an ag burn clerk, but she admitted to getting 'burned out' at that job and said she went back to school to get her library certificate.

"My favorite part," she added of working at the library, "it's the questions, they're never the same."

Meeker said she likes to help people answer those questions, because she always seems to learns something new as well.

Turner added that the transition from the Troke Branch in Stockton to the rural branch in Escalon has been fun.

"I've heard so many good things about Escalon," she said. "I'd like to continue to expand my sills, working in a small setting."

Turner lives in Stockton so the drive is one she is also enjoying, as it gives her time to "clear the head" and admire the rural scenery.

Meeker has an aunt that lives here so she was already somewhat familiar with the community.

Both new staff members said they felt welcomed, and have enjoyed getting to know the 'regulars' at the library as well as meeting community leaders and residents coming in for library programs and services. Turner also said the 'Friends' organization is a major benefit, helping put on events like the hugely successful Summer Reading Program and offering the book sales.

"This is my first time working with a Friends group and they're very active," Turner pointed out. "I'm just amazed at their support and the money they have raised for programs and materials."

Hours for the library on Second Street are Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m., Friday and Saturday from noon to 5 p.m.

"The community really supports the library," Turner added. "They appreciate it being here."