My mom the librarian

My mom with Tiffany Craft and Mayor James Craft
My mom with Tiffany Craft and Whitesburg Mayor James Craft

I just wanted to write a pride post about my mom, Lina Tidal. For the last 29 years, my mom worked as a librarian for the Harry M. Caudill Memorial Library, in our small hometown of Whitesburg, Kentucky. Today, she was recognized by the Kentucky House of Representatives, the Letcher County Fiscal Court, and was even given the key to the city of Whitesburg! 

Proclamation from Letcher County Fiscal Court
Proclamation from the Letcher County Fiscal Court


I am very proud of my mom. As a small child, she would take me and my 3 sisters to the library almost every other week, years before she started working there. Before my mom and dad immigrated to the United States, she was a children’s librarian for a grammar school in the Philippines. This is probably why we would check out classics like Where the Wild Things Are, Little Golden Books,  The Bernstein Bears, The Giving Tree and Dr. Seuss books. Eventually, I would check out Ramona Quimby books, Choose Your Adventure books, and Scary Books to Tell in the Dark.

I think early on, she knew how technology was going to be a game changer. I remember when she showed me the first CDROM and CDROM drives, where you had to take the disc, put it into a cartridge, and insert the cartridge into the computer. At home, we always had an encyclopedia set, but to have information and images loaded into a machine on a single disc was simply mind-boggling.

She eventually moved up the ranks to become director and wrote several successful technology grants, providing the county with computers for public use. This is especially important for Eastern Kentucky, one of the poorest regions in the country. Even though it is getting better, a lot of people depend on the library for Internet access. My mother also helped to start classes for people to become more familiar with computers. She would even enlist me as an instructor. When I was an undergraduate, I remember coming home in the summer and teaching the elderly how to create email web accounts and chat online.

One of the greater things my mom has done for our community is all the programs she had initiated and led. For the library’s summer reading program, she would read stories to children, dress in wild costumes for themed events, and even have little puppet shows. I have no idea how she had the energy not to only do this, but to also balance budgets, make monthly library board meetings, provide reference services, and work on collection development.  She would also host yoga in the library’s basement, hold book sales, and set up displays for the library’s front window. This is a feat in itself as the library has huge windows, having once been a large department store.

My mom has done some great work and has obviously inspired me to become a librarian. I just hope that I can accomplish half the things that she has done.


1 comment

  1. Great piece. Although your situation is different–after all she’s your mother–and despite academic librarians’ escalating propensity for scholarship these days, I’ve always found an abiding overlap between “our” academic and “their” public library worlds. It seems to me that 30-40 years ago a high proportion of our best academic librarians first had public library experience. I don’t think that’s true today. Perhaps something has been lost.

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