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Children’s librarians come to Dougherty, Lee

Erin Honeycutt, left, with the Lee County Library, and Erin Hunt with the Dougherty County Library are new children’s librarians, coming to their respective systems within a weeks of each other. Hunt is from Ohio, while Honeycutt moved from Valdosta when she gave up practicing law for library science.

Erin Honeycutt, left, with the Lee County Library, and Erin Hunt with the Dougherty County Library are new children’s librarians, coming to their respective systems within a weeks of each other. Hunt is from Ohio, while Honeycutt moved from Valdosta when she gave up practicing law for library science.

ALBANY, Ga. — Two children’s librarians have come to the Lee and Dougherty systems recently. One of them gave up an active law career and both of them are “Erins.”

Erin Hunt earned her masters in library science at Florida State University, she said, though she returned to Ohio after graduation where she worked for 13 years in the Dayton and Cincinnati library systems. Hunt has been working at the central location of the Dougherty County Library since December.

“My fiance managed to get on with MillerCoors in August,” Hunt said, “I wanted to be down here too and it was the right time for a children’s librarian.”

Although she has no children of her own, Hunt loves working with them, she says.

“It's not for everybody,” Hunt says of her chosen specialty, “You have to be passionate about what you’re doing, as well as energetic and always trying to be creative. I’m a little people person.”

According to Hunt, the right kinds of stimulation in children’s early years, including the appropriated books and activities can go a long way in helping them succeed in later life.

“That’s what the library is all about,” Hunt said.

Although courses are available to those interested in working with children, there are no required courses for a librarian to do so. According to Hunt, library science students select their specialties from several library types including academic, law, specialty or public, which is Hunt’s specialty. Hunt does keep abreast of children’s library programs, though, she said.

“I’m glad to be back to the south again and to the Albany area. “I feel very needed and welcomed here by the families.”

Erin Honeycutt — who came to the Lee Country Library from Valdosta, where she worked as an attorney for Legal Services — had perhaps an unusual beginning for a children’s librarian.

“It seemed like dog years, working there,” Honeycutt said. “or ‘really heavy’ might another way to say it.”

Honeycutt said she enjoyed the intellectual part, like law school previous to her job and the research involved with Legal Services itself, but the actual practice came to be overly stressful to her.

“It just stopped feeling right to me,” Honeycutt said.

According to Honeycutt, around the time of her greatest stress, she discovered that reading to her two-year-old girl, Rowan, reduced her own stress and the benefits to Rowan were apparent to her.

“My dad always read to me when I was a little girl, “Honeycutt said, “I started researching the best books to read and how important it all was. I discovered that the most important thing for children was being together with the parent. Its such a natural thing.”

According to Honeycutt, her nightly reading with her child caused her to question her own vocation. Eventually she moved toward earning her degree in library science.

“I was sort of telling myself the story I’d be a law librarian,” Honeycutt said. “You need a JD (law degree) to do that and I already had one. My parents were strongly invested in my law degree and that sort of soothed their feelings a little. Staying in law, even with the library thing seem the responsible thing to do, but I couldn’t deny my feelings.”

Honeycutt enrolled in a distance learning program of library science at the University of Alabama and earned her masters there. Recently she has come to work at the Lee County Library in Leesburg, and “much happier now, she said.