20 Under 40: Love for libraries brought John Major to Steamboat
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — In 2013, John Major came to Steamboat for the library.
“I heard the town had just built a new library. I was impressed with a community that would invest in a library during a recession,” Major explained, “that’s very unusual.”
When: 5 to 7 p.m. July 26
Where: Haymaker Patio Grill
Cost: $35, $15 for Young Professionals Network members
He was offered a job on the desk at Bud Werner Memorial Library and, after graduating last year from the University of Washington with his master of library and information science, he was promoted to his current position, reference librarian.
“I love being a part of an institution that has been around for thousands of years, “Major said. “It’s our responsibility to preserve the collective memory for the future; this way we ensure that we’re not repeating mistakes or re-inventing the wheel. I like being a part of something that is bigger than myself.”
On a daily basis, Major helps patrons with a wide variety of needs.
“Visitors come in wanting to learn more about the history of the Yampa Valley or even to find the best place in town to eat,” Major said. “Students come year round. Some people come to work or just to sit quietly. There are very few quiet places left in town and even the world.”
Major helps people with projects, large and small, answers countless questions and teaches students about how to use the library and what resources it can provide.
“I hardly go anywhere with John where he is not stopped and thanked ardently for some kindness or help that he offered someone,” said Jamie Burgess, a library patron who nominated Major.
“One of the best parts of my job is on a day-to-day basis, when you help a patron learn something simple like attaching a document to an email and then you see them a year later doing it by themselves, that’s very rewarding,” Major said.
Major also runs the Genealogy Club, which has grown in popularity in the past few years. He has served on the board of the Society of Rocky Mountain Archivists and works closely with the Tread of Pioneer Museum, preserving and sharing the community’s history.
His personal interest is astronomy, and he bought himself a telescope as a graduation present. But his passion lies within the library.
“I get up every day and get to do exactly what I want to do in an institution that supports me in that endeavor and in a community that holds that institution in such high regard,” Major said. “I’m very lucky.”
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