It’s a simple requirement, yet a necessary one. Wilhelmina Alimi said one must enjoy reading in order to become a successful librarian. The children’s librarian at Walnut Hill’s Lucien E. Blackwell branch, Alimi doesn’t just enjoy reading, she seems to yearn for it.
Always a lover of children’s literature, Alimi said a picture book doesn’t reach the library’s shelves without being read by her. It’s a perk of the job for someone like Alimi.
Before moving into her current full-time position, Alimi was able to attend graduate school through a program sponsored by the Free Library of Philadelphia. Surely, another perk of the job.
“She’s great,” said Brian Diggins, who coordinates the library’s chess club. “She really makes the kids feel good, feel welcome.”
Although the children’s section is intended for youths aged 11 and under, Alimi said she’s aware of the fears that await them downstairs on the library’s main floor. Surrounded by adults can be a scary place, said Alimi, and this librarian certainly understands.
“When you turn 12 you have to go down with those adults,” Alimi said. “When you’re used to being up here, you feel safe. And we let them come up here and do their homework, because I know it’s not easy.”