Each month we invite patrons to Meet the Staff. This month we get to know Youth Services Assistant Edward Gillman, our resident Science Guy and Anglophile. Edward – who prefers the British spelling of English words – has been at the library a year so it’s appropriate to shine our spotlight on him this September and the many activities he leads including Eco Club.
I wanted to work at OFPL both because I wanted a job that utilizes my skills and because I really, really love books. There’s just something wonderful about being surrounded by stories.
Some of my favourite things about working at OFPL are being able to help people find books and stories that interest them – along with being able to share my love of learning through the youth programs.
My favourite genres are fantasy, naturalist fiction, and non-fiction. My favourite authors are Brandon Sanderson, Jean Craighead-George, Michael Crichton, and Neil Gaiman. I’m a pretty big fan of the Harry Potter series, too. Ravenclaw!
I greatly dislike having my picture taken. (Even selfies.) Instead, I take pictures of various other things – including our cat, Kaylee.
I just finished my Master’s in Education at McKendree University and plan to take a semester break or two before starting a new Bachelor’s degree, which will likely be in Environmental Science. I have previously worked for World Bird Sanctuary where I trained birds of prey for educational programs. I have also worked briefly as an EMT, as well as various other jobs. I also currently work as an educator at the St. Louis Science Centre.
My husband and I have a cat, and I will soon be acquiring a snake. I someday hope to have chickens again, too. I’m an avid hiker and general lover of nature; I also enjoy writing, gardening, and keeping houseplants. One of my dreams is to have the time, financial support, and physical ability to complete a through-hike of the Pacific Crest Trail, which runs 2,650 miles from Mexico to Canada.
My favourite animal would be birds/reptiles, because I was (and still am) a huge dinosaur nerd. I like pretty much all plants, but I find poisonous plants really fascinating. And I just like rocks and minerals. They’re neat and they can tell us so much about the past. And they, you know, make up our planet. So that’s pretty great.
I would love to imagine that my Patronus is something like a harpy eagle—huge, majestic, and beautiful. But if I’m being honest with myself, it would be a particular tawny owl I used to train named “Mr. Peabody.” Tawny owls are wee, and because they’re owls, aren’t particularly bright. And this particular owl frequently tried to eat sticks larger than his own body. (He tried hard, though.) So, yeah, I’m pretty sure he’d be my Patronus.
Selected books by Edward’s Favourite Authors:
Alcatraz vs. the Evil Librarians by Brandon Sanderson – On his thirteenth birthday, foster child Alcatraz Smedry receives a bag of sand which is immediately stolen by the evil Librarians who are trying to take over the world, and Alcatraz is introduced to his grandfather and his own special talent, and told that he must use it to save civilization.
My Side of the Mountain by Jean Craighead George – A young boy relates his adventures during the year he spends living alone in the Catskill Mountains including his struggle for survival, his dependence on nature, his animal friends, and his ultimate realization that he needs human companionship.