Park City Library would like to introduce Daniel Thurston, its new Spanish services librarian.
Thurston, who started working at the library on Jan. 4, will make his official Park City debut at 10 a.m. on Tuesday via Zoom and Facebook Live.
“I think it’s important that I build a relationship with the local Spanish-speaking community so they feel comfortable talking with me and me talking with them,” Thurston said. “I just want them to know me, know my name and know my face. I want them to feel welcome and understood in our library, because I feel libraries are for everyone.”
Starting in March, Thurston will also begin hosting virtual Spanish story times at 10 a.m. every Tuesday, and will help the library facilitate Spanish-speaking curbside pickup every Thursday afternoon.
“I will be available at those times to help people get library cards, get books and other materials, while answering any questions they have about our programs and services,” he said. “I’d like to let people know that there are so many resources available to them that are completely free.”
Thurston has also spent a lot of his time translating the library’s various forms, brochures and website into Spanish to better serve the community, he said.
“Connecting people is an element in a library’s mission statement, and my main goal is to build relationships,” he said. “At the library, we believe that every interaction with someone is important, and I want to play a role in not only speaking the language, but helping them feel important and valued.”
Thurston comes to Park City after working at libraries in Provo and Pleasant Grove.
“The network of library professionals is pretty tight knit, and one of my bosses emailed our staff to say that the Park City Library was looking for a Spanish services librarian,” he said. “I applied and was pleased to hear back from them and given the position.”
Thurston stumbled into library work after graduating with a degree in chemistry at Brigham Young University.
“I realized, at the end of my degree, unfortunately, that I didn’t love working in a chemistry lab,” he said. “I really liked the things I was learning. I liked how ideas fit together and things like that, but I wasn’t a big fan of being in a lab. So I started to look for other jobs that had similar aspects.”
He found a job at a Provo library and took it to pay his bills.
“I found I liked working at a library a lot,” he said. “I liked helping other people. I liked the way things were organized in a library, and I liked having a sense of ownership for the work that I have done.”
Thurston’s background in Spanish comes from his mother, who hails from Argentina.
“English is my second language, although I don’t remember a time when I didn’t speak English,” he said. “I was fortunate my mom taught us not only how to speak, but to read and write Spanish. But it wasn’t until I was an adult that I learned how rare it is to be fully literate in two languages is a big advantage.”
Thurston is grateful that he is bilingual.
“Speaking Spanish not only connects me to my roots and heritage,” he said. “It also helps me reach out to people in a community that needs attention.”
The size of Park City’s Hispanic population surprised Thurston.
“Since the library was looking for a Spanish services librarian, I knew there would be some need, but I didn’t know that 13% of Park City households spoke Spanish as a first language,” he said. “Park City is above the state average, which is 10%, and these levels have been increasing for the past 20 years. So there is a need here.”
When: 10 a.m. on Tuesday, March 2
Where: Zoom and Facebook Live