The 30Y.30L Campaign made the front page of the Vassar Pioneer Times. A big thank you to Eric Andreychuk (director of Bullard Sanford in Vassar), Andy Thompson (graphic designer), and Megan Decker (reporter).

’30Y.30L Voyage Visits Vassar’
‘Local woman will visit 30 libraries for 30th birthday’
By Megan Decker / Vassar Pioneer Times

Vassar – For her 30th birthday, library student and enthusiast, Jill Collins Brown put a plan into action to visit 30 public libraries to celebrate her personal milestone.

“Many of my friends and I were turning 30 this year and I wanted to do something unique and special to mark the milestone,” Brown said. “Being born in December has its challenges when planning a celebration so I ruled out many of the traditional ideas. Being a graduate student studying library and information science, I thought about arranging a behind-the-scenes tour of the State archives or the Detroit Institute of Art. Following that same train of thought, I came up with the idea to tour a few public libraries and write about my experiences via my blog, Hermionish.”

Brown kicked-off what she dubbed 30 Years and 30 Libraries (30Y.30L) on Nov, 15 with a visit at the Moore Public Library in Kingston (correction: Lexington). She hopes to conclude her library tour in January. She celebrated her third decade at the approximate midway point in her 30Y.30L journey on Dec. 11.

“Of course, I had a literary-themed birthday cake, Little Women by Louisa May Alcott,” she said.

Since beginning her project, Brown has visited two-thirds of the libraries on her list.

Among previous stops on her 30Y.30L tour was Vassar’s own Bullard Sanford Memorial Library. Brown visited the Vassar library on Nov. 23.

“Selecting the libraries was a challenge and certainly not a perfect science,” Brown explained. “While I absolutely love a road trip, my time this semester was limited due to my full-time student status. Keeping that in mind, I knew that I needed to keep the majority of my selections to the Thumb area and southeastern-lower Michigan. My concentration at Wayne State is public libraries and I have aspirations of practicing rural librarianship in the near future; therefore, the majority of the agencies selected for this project were rural in nature with a few suburban libraries sprinkled in for added depth and diversity.”

In her blog, Hermionish, Brown explained the Bullard Sanford Memorial Library’s collection, its service population and shared information about new director Eric Andreychuk. Brown also wrote (note: by way of Kate Van Auken’s eulogy) about the late Jim Rancilio. She has written about similar facts at her other stops.

“I’ve enjoyed learning how each library delivers services to their community as well as networking with professionals in the field. Like the communities that they serve, each library is unique and has a history,” Brown said.

Brown first became interested in becoming a librarian as a small child and her passion for libraries grew as a student, she said.

“From the days of pulling my Radio Flyer wagon to the library as a young child to hiking across campus at Ferris State University for a paper on minority groups in America, I have been a lifelong library user,” Brown added. “Back in the day, I used to shelf books at Oxford Public Library and spent practically my entire lunch hour in the school media center.

Being interested in the field goes well beyond the mere love of books and reading and draws upon my background of helping people. Librarianship is a soft form of social work — helping people find information whether it be for entertainment purposes or helping a patron research a scary new diagnosis given by a doctor. The library field is truly about helping others and giving back to the community.”

Brown plans to complete her studies in early 2013. Following her graduation, she hopes to work as a rural public librarian.

“I hope to practice rural librarianship under a seasoned library director,” Brown explained. “I am also kicking around the notion of writing a book about the history of Thumb area libraries.”

Brown, originally from Oxford, moved to the Watertown area with her husband, Ryan, a few years ago. “I like to tell people from the Thumb area that I am an ‘import,'” Brown said. “I met my husband, Ryan, while attending Ferris State University. Growing up in Snover, he’s been a lifelong resident of Sanilac County. A few years back, we bought an old turn-of-the-century farmhouse which we are currently renovating.”

Brown’s 20 library visits have each been very rewarding thus far, she said.

“(Everyone) has been very warm and welcoming,” Brown said. “A number of directors and staff interviewed during this project actually began their careers in the education field. They truly have a talent for teaching.”

Not only has Brown been able to celebrate her 30 years, she has also had the opportunity to use this project as a learning experience.

“Let’s just say that to date, I have killed three brand new pens and filled five legal pads,” Brown said. “Every library serves a different community with a wide range of information needs. I am learning a ton and loving every minute of this project. I’d really like to thank the directors and library staff for meeting with me and helping to fill those legal pads.”

She looks forward to the remaining ten libraries. At this time, she only has seven remaining libraries selected, but hopes to narrow down the final three in coming weeks.

“I am three agencies short of 30. I must admit that I experienced some difficulty in making contact with a few libraries which was rather disappointing at first. The question I have been asking by many, ‘how will you fill those three slots?’ Just about every director interviewed thus far has shared the name of another library — whether it is an old favorite from their childhood, a library visited while traveling, or an agency that is very innovative and has unique practices — and I took notes. After the holidays, I’ll begin making arrangements and will announce the three libraries on my blog.”

To learn about Brown’s experience and to read about her library visits, view