Sherie Brown, director of Massillon Public Library, believes that becoming a librarian was a career that found her.

Sherie Brown, director of Massillon Public Library, believes that becoming a librarian was a career that found her. She thought she wanted to be a Spanish teacher when she graduated high school.

Brown had seven years of Spanish through high school and college before she realized that teaching in a classroom wasn’t the right career path for her. She thought maybe working for a publisher might work out better.

Brown’s father decided it was time for to begin her future and make a choice for her career.

“I was, what I would consider to be, a dabbler. I had a little bit of knowledge here and there but no one area of expertise,” Brown said. “My father told me one day that I had enough of college and it was time to start looking for a career. He told me I had to stop laying in the sun working on my tan. I opened the Canton Repository one day and found an employment ad that led me to the Massillon Public Library.”

Brown has been at that library for 35 years. It was her first job out of college in the summer of 1979. She said it was a good fit because she liked organizing and alphabetizing. She also had a degree in English literature and a minor in psychology. Plus, she was an avid reader and had a background in music.

“Being a generalist is a good background for being a librarian. Having a wide breadth of information and knowledge helps librarians to assist patrons find what they are looking for,” Brown said.

Her first job at the library was purchasing and cataloging vinyl record albums (LPs). From that position, she was assigned to the reference desk where she would later become the head of the reference department.

She became director of the Massillon Public Library three years ago when the previous director retired.

FAMILY FIRST

Brown grew up in North Canton and graduated Hoover High School. She earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of Cincinnati in English literature with a minor in psychology. Her Master’s in Library Science was earned at Kent State.

Brown’s mother still resides in North Canton in the family home. Her father is deceased. Brown has two sisters, Julie Fairless and Nancy Kellogg. Julie lives in Jackson Township and Nancy is in Newark.

Today, Brown and her husband Gary have been married for 34 years and live in Jackson Township. Gary works for Brown and Associates Insurance. They have two sons. Peter went to art school and lives in Baltimore, Maine.

Jeffrey graduated Ohio State and works in North Canton. Both of their sons are graduates of Jackson High School – Peter in 2006 and Jeffrey in 2007.

Working fulltime when her two sons were small was a challenge. Brown said her mother-in-law helped watch the kids while she and her husband worked. Plus, she said the library is family-friendly.

“I never had to worry about my kids because they were with my mother-in-law,” Brown said. “These days the balancing act is with aging parents which presents a different set of challenges.”

She said that she and her husband are fortunate that both their mothers continue to live in their homes and remain independent. Plus, her husband has a flexible schedule and has been a great help.

INSPIRATION
 
Brown belongs to several organizations including the American Library Association and the Ohio Library Association. She’s a member of the Directors of Ohio Librarians Learn, Aid, Recharge and Support (DOLLARS). Brown is president of the Massillon Kiwanis, she is the literacy and public relations person for the Massillon Rotary and she sings with the Voices of Canton (VOCI). She is also part of the One Book One Community program.

Brown also leads a book club. Being a librarian, Brown does read a lot. She likes to read historical fiction and her favorite author is Alice Hoffman who is a fiction writer that includes some historical facts. And, her favorite hobby for the past six years has been playing the calliope for the Massillon Tiger Football Booster Club at home games and parades.

“It’s important for me to give back to the community,” Brown said. “In the Kiwanis, we focus on children with the Salvation Army School Kick-off and the child’s ID program. In Rotary, we just worked on a house for Community Outreach of Love (COOL), where we painted a home in Massillon and built a deck and landscaped it.”

Brown said she read one of the best suggestions for leadership in a book by Simon Sinek, “Leaders Eat Last.” The book is about servant leadership.

“The message of the book is that people aren’t here to do my bidding; I’m here to help them achieve the very best that they can achieve,” Brown said. “It’s about finding the right people and giving them what they need to their jobs and then getting out of their way.”

Her personal work motto is a saying hanging on her wall. It’s a reminder she has carried with her through her entire career. The quote by Regina Brett, a longtime columnist and bestselling author, says, “No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up.”

A second favorite quote is by Wayne Gretzky: “Skate to where the puck is headed not to where it’s been.”

Brown said her husband’s favorite saying is, “On to the next thing.”

She is always thinking about the next thing at the library.

“My thoughts are the same at the end of the day are the same as my thoughts at the beginning of the day, they are all about the library,” Brown said.