By Christine Sampson
Jaime Mott joined the John Jermain Memorial Library as its children’s librarian Memorial Day weekend. Ms. Mott is a native of Sag Harbor who graduated from Pierson High School and now is the mother of twin six-year-old boys who attend Sag Harbor Elementary School. She fills the position formerly held by Susann Farrell, who died in April after a short battle with cancer. Ms. Mott spoke with The Express about her passion for literacy and how much she loves working at JJML.
What was your first impression of the library when you were little?
It was always very quiet. I don’t actually remember the children’s area, but I remember the rotunda as a kid. It always had an impression on me. It was always quiet, and very old. It felt very much like an adult place to be.
Does it still feel that way?
No! It doesn’t. Not if we can help it. Kind of giving more space to have more children’s books was a priority of Susann and [library director] Cathy [Creedon] and all the staff here. To have more of a collection and more resources was important, because it was in a very small room formerly. We have more toys, made it more comfortable, made it more all-ages so they can come and stay as much as they want, whether they’re borrowing books or DVDs or coming for a program. We want it to feel comfortable here, and I don’t think it was necessarily that way when I was a kid. Not necessarily by design, but libraries are changing.
What inspired you to become a children’s librarian?
I love books. I had very little toys in my room as a kid, I just had shelves full of books. And I still have all of them. Even when I had my own children, I would buy them a duplicate because I needed to keep my copy very nice.
What do you like to read?
Just personally I choose to read young adult and middle grade books in my own time. I’m into book clubs and trying to get them to read them. My friends always laugh and say, ‘You know, you have to read adult books sometimes.’ The kids’ books just have more fun. Adult books are more serious. Because of things like “Twilight” and “Harry Potter,” adults all of a sudden took notice because they were on the New York Times best sellers list, and opened it up. The funny part is that with adult books, a book may or may not be relatable to a kid. But every adult was a kid so it’s going to speak to you in some way.
What do you love about working at JJML?
Everything. To see people from the community is really fun. Everyone is generally really positive and happy when they come to the library. They’re either coming to the library with a question that you can help with, which is very satisfying. We serve a diverse population — age, ethnicity. And everyone uses different services here, so it’s great to see how they’re using them and we hopefully provide them with something they might not have had. Even helping someone scan and fax in their tax documents to a technology question down to a brand new reader picking out their first library book. It’s so exciting.
Your predecessor, Sue Farrell, left some big shoes for you to fill, and was so beloved by the community. Does having her memory so palpable there make you feel a certain way when you approach your work each day?
We’ve been a family of the library. Sue was our librarian, me and my boys. We always came to her programs. We really enjoyed having her. She shone like a bright light. I truly am just keeping the library going and keeping people here and using the library to the best that she set it up to be. In how we can honor her, we want to keep the children welcomed here and comfortable here.
One of Ms. Farrell’s favorite traditions, JJML’s Halloween Fair, will live on this weekend. It is planned for Saturday from 10:30 a.m. to noon as a way to honor Ms. Farrell and entertain the children of Sag Harbor.