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Running Storytime + Library Life

Updated: Apr 15, 2023

Getting to know a bit of my back story! Maybe it's a bit odd to share, but I love letting clients have a glimpse at what I was doing prior to running my business full time. I also really value transparency and allowing other photographers the chance to see more than just the present state of a business, because we all start somewhere.


Before I was full time into photography I had a handful of jobs, but the longest lasting roles I had were working at two libraries. The first was our local public library where I was a student employee for over half a decade starting in high school. The second was actually on a military base in my hometown, NAS Whiting Field, as a Library Technician. My primary role was to coordinate and facilitate the Storytime Program for kiddos from ages 2-5.


Of all the things I grew up in imagining I'd do for work as a teen, into adulthood, this was not it. Thankfully my dad pushed me to apply, and my mother then woke me, selected my attire and dropped me off at the main office for the Santa Rosa County public library system. Within a couple hours of my interview, I got a call with an offer for the job. I was shocked, at 15 I didn't really anticipate being a first choice for any job, but apparently my demeanor meant something during that interview.



During my days at the Milton Library, I spent most of my time straightening books on shelves and movies... goodness, so many movies. (Often quite sticky and in need of regular cleaning.) Then there were Storytime days and event days, which I enjoyed the most. The library would be flooded with children and their parents. I had the privilege of helping the kiddos find books that they would {actually} be interested in. I'll be honest, these conversations were some of my favorites, and were the highlight of my work.


After years of working for the public library and graduating from high school, I knew I needed a more substantial income. First, I actually applied to work there full time. I can't blame them for choosing a previous teacher instead, but I was devastated, so I held my position a little longer while working at a local pizza joint to keep me busy. I knew it was time to move on and heard through a military patron the base was reopening their library. I was pretty ecstatic to say the least. Thus began the next step in my journey.


The application process was a little more intensive being it would be on a military base and working closely with kids. The day I received the call to schedule my interview was pretty exciting. I felt so accomplished even in that. So, when the day came, I did everything I could to be confident after my previous let down. To my surprise I was informed during the interview I was the most qualified applicant, but they still had to conduct the remaining interviews. Within a few days I received a call with an offer and accepted the position.



The best part of my "non-photography" career had officially begun. I dove in headfirst helping to label all the brand-new books, and movies. What was really unique about this particular opportunity is that this library was not yet OPEN! Back in 2005 Hurricane Ivan took out the library on the base, and never fully reopened, which was what was finally happening. So aside from the librarian, I was the first employee for the new library. Which turned out to be really fun! I got to weigh in on furniture choices, shelving and even the circulation desk. The first couple months were full of endless amounts of training, which should come as no surprise to any government employee ever.



All of the preparation led up to the greatest reward, the very first Storytime. It was a hit, thanks to our marketing team, blasting the news across the base and the interwebs. It was simple for a first run, welcome song, 3 books, a craft and the goodbye song to wrap up the morning. When I tell you my heart absolutely melted into this role, I mean it. I could utilize my creativity through the craft project, my love of acting as a read, and my love of children. This opportunity developed my skills tremendously when it came to working with and leading children. Which is one of my greatest assets now as a family photographer.



At the tail end of 2019 I got married, and at the time knew it probably meant we would be moving. While it was absolutely necessary and God had great intentions, it was really hard to leave all these little ones I had grown to love. I still remember ALL of the names of the regular kiddos that attended Storytime, I miss them to this day. (A handful of the moms I still follow on Instagram!) So, in February of 2020 my career as a library employee came to a close when we uprooted and moved to Apalachicola.


Having formally started my photography business in 2018 I knew in my gut it's what I was meant to pursue in this move. Who knows, maybe one day I'll return to a library to feed my love of knowledge and the desire to teach others. But not for a long while. I've got this business I'm madly in love with and tiny people of my own to raise.


Thank you for reading along on one of my personal stories! It's always a blessing to share more of myself with you so you know who you're investing in. It's truly my desire to develop a trusting relationship with you as your photographer.


Much Love + God Bless


Kelsey Weeks

Photographer



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