Forever a librarian

Posted on 16 April 2014


Catherine the Librarian


News Writer

Catherine Vanstone is not your stereotypical librarian, but a very imaginative, animated, creative and often playful person.

She is employed as assistant librarian at the Gilbert H. Gragg Library in Bainbridge — a job she loves.

She is in charge of keeping all the technology up-to-date and in working order and teaches basic computer classes.

The Southwest Georgia library system has had a major impact on her life. It was a huge part of her life growing up. “I used to ride my bike to the Seminole County Library, nearly every day, and I knew in the 4th grade that I would be a librarian when I grew up.”

She recalls playing library as a child and making her sister and friends check out her books,. She even had a list of rules they had to abide by.

Catherine was born in Seminole County, graduated from Seminole County High School, obtained her B.A. in History and Art History from Agnes Scott College in Decatur, Ga., then went on to earn her Master’s in Library Science at Indiana University.

As part of her education she completed an internship with the library in Bainbridge and knew she wanted to come back home to work there.

Following graduation her first official library job was with the State of Florida government library in Tallahassee, where she worked as a circulation reference librarian. There she verified various government documents and researched criminal records through old newspapers.

One of the best things she likes about her current job with Gilbert H. Gragg Library is its fast pace. She can come in planning to do one assignment and end up going in an entirely different direction.

“I oversee the IT department and keeping up with all the rapid changes in software is very challenging,” she explains. She also receives personal satisfaction from teaching people basic computer skills and seeing the lights come on when they realize all they can do with that new knowledge.

Helping people is a basic need for Catherine. She loves working with the Library for the Blind and Accessible Services—that group that is so often overlooked  — and helping them access resources.

She reaches out to the community by way of her Rotary membership, where she is chair of the literacy committee, the group that also sponsors the GED graduation receptions. She has served as the special event coordinator for Special Olympics, a job she found very rewarding. “Being able to work with that community group is such a positive experience. Their outlook on life is so great. You can be having a bad day and talk with them a bit and come away with more than you gave.”

She is a member of First United Methodist Church, where she serves on the staff-parish committee and is an assistant teacher of the pre-school Kindergarten Sunday School Class.

Catherine is married to Daaron Vanstone and the couple has a five-year old son, Henry. She is happiest when she is spending time with her family. They have what they call “PJ Party Day” when a couple times a month they hang out in their pajamas all day playing board and card games and acting out super-hero-villain games designed by Henry.

Her personal goal is to raise a loving son who wants to be a better person and give back to the community and make the world just a little better.

Catherine said she has been most influenced in her life by her parents, Mary Lou and Dan Ponder, both of whom have set high examples of giving back to he community and stressing that education is a life-long process

Catherine’s motto, and one she tells to all who will listen, including students at Bainbridge High School on career days, is, “It is not a failure to return home.

Our communities will not thrive and grow if new leaders don’t come back home and serve.”

She admits that as a teenager she couldn’t wait to “get out of Dodge.” She studied abroad at the University of Reading outside London for one year and enjoyed traveling through Ireland and the continent. But, as she traveled and lived in other places she came to realize how much Southwest Georgia has to offer.

She has come back home and is happy she did.

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