We asked Patch readers to nominate community members for San Anselmo – Fairfax Patch Person of 2012. We narrowed the 34 nominations we received down to five great finalists, including filmmaker and local benefactor George Lucas as well as Sharon Sagar, Girl Scouts volunteer and Ross Valley School Board member.
After readers had 10 days to vote for the finalists, more than half of the 82 people who voted opted for April Hayley, San Anselmo Library Children’s Librarian, as the person of the year.
Coincidentally, the group of musicians Hayley joins every week at Amazing Grace Music — which is owned by one of last year’s Person of the Year, John Pederson — were the first to tell her she was a finalist.
Hayley, a fiddler who brings her love of music to her work when she plays the banjo for Marin children at Monday and Friday story times at the San Anselmo Library, didn’t even click on the link when some of her fellow musicians sent out a group e-mail saying “you’ll never guess who was nominated.”
“I never thought it would be me,” she said.
But it was. Hayley said some people congratulated her about the nomination while emphasizing that it wasn’t exactly an even playing field (especially with the star power of Lucas as a fellow finalist). She didn’t expect to become the person of the year.
“It’s just unbelievable,” she said, adding that she’s honored. “I think it’s amazing to be able to work with all these kids. I really believe in their intelligence and creativity, and it’s wonderful to be trusted by the community to help guide them.”
One person who originally nominated Hayley, San Anselmo resident Stephanie Hornish, said Hayley is an “invaluable resource not only for her deep love and knowledge of books, and her ability to find something for every child’s tastes (and parent’s approval), but also for all the ‘extra curricular’ kids programs she runs and promotes.”
Those programs include the summer reading program, which last year included a record-breaking 753 children and teens who read more than 6,900 books in 10 weeks.
Hayley started as the town’s children’s librarian in February 2011. It was a position that hadn’t been filled since 2005 and is now funded via a $49 parcel tax the council approved in 2010.
Hayley grew up in Chicago and started working for the Chicago Public Library — where her mother is a librarian — in high school. But she wasn’t interested in becoming a librarian until a Chicago Public Library summer gig where she read to children at playgrounds in impoverished parts of the city. “It was so amazing to see the difference books could make on a child’s life,” she said.
Library special events and programs she has started range from a Kid’s Poetry Writing Club to Jewelry Making for Teens and Tweens.
Some of the regular programs include:
- Monday story time for toddlers, aged 18 months to 3 years, from 10:30 to 11 a.m., in the San Anselmo Town Council Chambers (this was the only program that was already in place before Hayley started in her new position)
- Friday story time — including songs and a craft — for preschoolers, ages 3-5, from 10:30 to 11 a.m., in the San Anselmo Town Council Chambers
- Thursday French story time, from 10:30 to 11 a.m., in the San Anselmo Town Council Chambers
- Poetry writing club for children ages 7 through 11, on the second Tuesday of each month from 3:45 to 4:45 p.m.
- Book Club for kids in third through sixth grade, on the fourth Wednesday of the month from 3:45 to 4:45 p.m.
- Teen Book Club, on the last Wednesday of the month (Jan. 30 this month), from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m.
- Read to a Dog, twice a month on Thursday (Jan. 10 and 31 this month), from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m.
There also are a few special library programs coming up:
- San Anselmo children’s author Jeanne Walker Harvey will visit the library on Jan. 14 to do an activity on her book Astro the Steller Sea Lion
- The second annual San Anselmo library storytelling festival is set for Saturday, Feb. 2, from 2 to 4 p.m.
- Mill Valley poet Karen Benke will lead workshops for tweens and youth on Feb. 11 and 12.
We’ve heard from multiple community members who appreciate Hayley’s work.
Patch commenter L. Lowell wrote Hayley “continues to inspire our children to read and explore.”
“I can say with certainty that if we lost April it would leave a giant sad hole in the community,” Hornish said.
Congratulations to Hayley and the other finalists, who all undoubtedly have done their part to make San Anselmo and Fairfax a better place!
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