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In a small library in Connecticut, Never Quit winner Carrie Bryant creates connections between strangers



In a small library in Connecticut, Never Quit winner Carrie Bryant creates connections between strangers


Photo credit: Member provided photo.


The West Haven Library in West Haven, Connecticut, is a melting pot. Patrons from all different backgrounds and ages step through the doors. But no matter who visits the library, AFSCME Local 393 (Council 4) member Carrie Bryant says she wants them to feel “seen and heard.”

“One thing I want to make clear is that the library is desperately needed in the community,” said Bryant, a children’s library employee who has worked at the West Haven Library for almost 11 years. “It’s a sense of community – a place where both adults and children can meet and have a safe space.”

Bryant has seen her clients grow from children to high school graduates, and throughout her career at West Haven Library, she has strived to foster a sense of connection, learning and, most importantly, fun.

Bryant started at the library as a part-time library assistant, helping librarians with programming. But as she took on more responsibilities, she moved into the role of children’s librarian.

“I wanted to create programs that were diverse,” says Bryant. “The great thing about it is that everyone seems interested in getting to know each other.”

A celebration of the Muslim holiday, Eid-al-Fitr, attracted community members from many different backgrounds. The program was a hit, says Bryant.

According to Enrique Feliciano, the library’s part-time custodian, who nominated Bryant for AFSCME’s Never Quit Service Award, “Carrie is always loyal to the library. She always goes to the extreme. The parents and children love her. They call her ‘ma’am’. Carrie. ”

Feliciano says Bryant strives to implement programs that will improve the lives of his clients, teaching them about things like nutrition or exercise. That’s in addition to more traditional literary events, games, crafts and more.

It was no surprise to Feliciano when Bryant was recognized with Connecticut’s Support Staff of the Year Award two years ago.

“Carrie is bubbly,” says Felciano. “She serves you with a smile. In the two years I’ve been there, I’ve never seen her angry, never heard her say anything negative about anyone.”

However, Bryant isn’t one to take credit for turning West Haven Library into a thriving local hub.

“It’s a great team at the library,” she says. “We all work very well together. I am motivated by my colleagues, they also want to make the library a better place.”

While West Haven’s success is clearly the result of a great team, it always helps to have a standout player on the team, who leads by example.

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