Recs and Reads
By Anne McKay Garris
The lady librarian that greets you from behind the counter at the Clearwater Beach Branch Library is named Linda Hamrell. A love of reading led her into making a career out of helping people find, and learn to love, books of all sorts.
After getting her Bachelor's degree from Townsend State University in Boston, Linda taught school for a year and a half and then went back for her Master's Degree in Librarymanship at the University of Denver.
She has been with the Clearwater Public Library system since 1976, and served for 22 years in the Clearwater Beach Branch, with a few years off during the transition period of the location at Memorial Civic Center at the entrance to Clearwater Beach, and the present location as part of the Clearwater Beach Recreation Center.
Before that, however, Linda worked in libraries in Baltimore, Maryland; Sacramento, California; Portland, Oregon; Gary, Indiana and Lake County, Indiana.
"I hated cold weather," she says, explaining her last move from Gary to Clearwater. All of her children, a daughter, two sons and four grandchildren, live in nearby parts of Florida.
Linda's other love is acting. Asked what roles she likes to play, she answers, "Anything they'll let me do." She has just finished a stint with a Tarpon Springs little theater, playing the part of a schizophrenic housekeeper in Who's Got The Money.
"Part of the time the character is a hateful dictator," she reports, "the rest of the time she is a sweet southern belle."
But the lady behind the counter at the Beach Library is neither a dictator nor a southern belle (although I'm trying to teach her how to say y'all). She is a knowledgeable and helpful professional who will go to any lengths to help you find the book, or DVD you need.
"Everyone thinks the new library is so beautiful," she says. "I am so glad that we now have a permanent facility. Hopefully we will never again hear the words, 'Let's close the Beach Branch.' This is the fourth location for our library."
Starting in October, Linda will be offering a monthly book review. "I call it a look backward," she says. "We'll be reviewing memorable books from the past." Stay tuned!
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