Member Spotlight - Joy Cichewicz

Submitted by coveyl on March 7, 2013 - 1:11pm.   

Joy Cichewicz, Manager, Michigan Avenue branch

Ypsilanti District Library

Joy has been a librarian for sixteen years, serving many different communities in many different capacities. Before becoming a librarian she worked at the Canton District Library as a page, Eastern Michigan University library as a student helper with the catalog conversion, and at the Fred C. Fischer Library in Belleville as a library and circulation aid, where she linked materials and assisted with youth programming. Her first job out of library school was a brief stint at the UAW-Technical Training Center Library where she ran a small library for skilled trades. Following that, she worked for three years at the University of Michigan Undergrad and Social Work Libraries where she carried a heavy load of bibliographic instruction. Going back to her love of public libraries, she moved on to the Brighton District Library where she was the Head of Automation, making technology decisions, designing and maintaining their award-winning website, and conducting popular training sessions for staff and the public. She is currently a board member of the Belleville Area District Library and manages the downtown location of the Ypsilanti District Library, which is a very busy facility serving a diverse population. She has done almost every job that a library has to offer!

The Ypsilanti District Library has become her home. With a fantastic staff, supportive upper administration, and a strong vision, the downtown branch is thriving. Like almost every library in Michigan, YDL has less funding than it did five years ago. However, by most measures, usage at the downtown location has only increased. Programming numbers have tripled, computer usage has doubled, teens are extremely involved in library programming, and more and more families attend the creative youth activities. YDL-Michigan is too densely packed with people to keep the noise level low, but it is obvious that it is relevant to the community it serves. Joy works to have regular win/win collaborations with businesses in the downtown, provide a safe place for teens, and to advocate for providing computer resources.

Joy feels strongly that libraries, especially libraries serving more urban populations, have a major role to play in the lives of their users, both in providing a safe, welcoming space, listening to the community’s needs, and by actively engaging them to provide direction, ownership, expertise, and assistance to make their space the best it can be.

Joy confesses, aloud, that, unlike nearly every librarian she knows, she does not actually “read” fiction. Gasp! She listens to all types of audiobooks, both fiction and non-fiction, while doing activities with her hands. She picks up books mostly for informational purposes. Her interests range from health, crafts, glass arts, technology, social issues, gardening, raising chickens and bees, house repair, educating children, and travel.

Joy recently renewed her membership with MLA and hopes to be an active part of the legislative committee. She is particularly interested in library funding and safety in libraries.