Pickell, 63, oversees the five branches of Clearwater's library system. Last month, she was pleased to watch as the Clearwater City Council unanimously approved building a new branch in Countryside. When the $6.4 million construction project is completed, a 22,500-square-foot library next to the Countryside Recreation Complex will replace the old structure a half mile away. "It's a busy branch. We have seniors in the morning visit and a thriving children's department in the afternoons. We're also aware that our patrons are affluent enough that we need to be able to support their tablets, computers and e-readers. It's interesting that our patrons are different at the different branches," she said. Pickell, who holds an undergraduate degree in English from University of Washington and a master's in library science from Emporia State University in Kansas, has held her job since 2005.
What's on your nightstand?
Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin. I don't have HBO, so I've never seen the TV series. I decided I needed to know what's going on with it because the rest of the world is very intrigued with it. The fact that it is long is somewhat daunting, but I'm enjoying it.
Do you think readers who are not fans of fantasy fiction would enjoy it?
It definitely has a fantasy edge, but it's got historical elements as well. It parallels a lot of true-life historical things, so I think if you're interested in historical fiction, you'd enjoy it as well.
Given your experience, in 2013, what do you see as the absolute value of the library?
Its main mission has not changed. It's still that one public institution that, no matter what you need, no matter what point you are in getting your information, you are served at the library from that point. It used to be we'd do this with paper products and indexes. Now it's more computers, but we still do it.
Piper Castillo, Times staff writer, can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.