Staff

 

Jen Graney, Library Director

Library Director: Jen Graney

director@cortlandfreelibrary.org

Q & A with Jen

What’s your role at the library? What are your (main) responsibilities? I manage the library, which can look different from day to day but generally includes supporting our staff and keeping the library's mission first and foremost in my mind to make sure we're meeting the community's (your!) needs. I implement Board-approved policy and help make sure we adhere to our budget. I also manage collection development for our nonfiction section and keep an eye towards using our spaces the best we can. I have a hand in programming as well and have really enjoyed collaborating with Seven Valleys Health, Hospicare, and others to help meet the needs of our community through programming that helps us all navigate this life.

What’s your background? MLIS from Syracuse University; BA in English and Journalism from St. John Fisher College; and an MFA (Creative Nonfiction) from Vermont College of Fine Arts in the works. My hometown is Honeoye Falls, NY, and I worked and lived in in Rochester, Syracuse, and Fayetteville before moving to Cortland in 2020.

What’s your favorite thing about the library/something people should know about the library? Libraries are places of discovery, which leads to creation, which leads to fulfillment and happiness. So libraries = happiness! Since I was a kid, I've found them to be exciting places full of interesting characters, information and inspiration, and I still do. Cortland Free Library has an incredible collection and is always growing. If you haven't been in before, it's worth it just to check out the beautiful historic building with a recently renovated art gallery where there are rotating exhibits. We are also (overdue) fine-free!

What else should we know about you? I'm a lifelong learner who is passionate about music, writing, photography, nature, animals, and yoga. I also love to travel to new places and cook and bake yummy (vegan) things.

What are you currently reading/watching/listening to (and/or what are some of your favorite books, movies, artists, albums, etc.)? Reading: The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali; numerous cookbooks (The Vegetable Kingdom; East); Braiding Sweetgrass, by Robin Wall Kimmerer. Ravi Shankar has been on the turntable, and I listen to Spotify a lot. Favorite artists include anything from the Sargent House label but especially Chelsea Wolfe, TTNG, and Russian Circles. All-time favorite movie: Amelie.

 

Assistant to the Director / Adult Services Manager: Theresa Mekeel

reference@cortlandfreelibrary.org

Q & A with Theresa

What’s your role at the library? What are your (main) responsibilities? As Assistant to the Director and Adult Services Manager, I try to make sure daily activities at the library run smoothly by assisting the Director in any way that I am able, making sure staff have the tools, materials & information needed to do their jobs, and meeting needs of the patrons, providing them a pleasant experience at the library.

What’s your background? My husband and I were directors of Cortland Bible Club Camp (mainly a youth camp, but we did hold adult events as well) for over 20 years. We held 8 weeks of summer camp as well as off-season retreats – we have many that still call us “aunt” and “uncle” from those years! I’ve also worked as a bookkeeper and as a substitute with OCM BOCES. I have been at Cortland Free Library since 2013.

What else should we know about you? I love spending time with my family (husband, 5 children, their spouses & my granddaughter!) I have 2 cats – Alexander & Catalano. 🙂 I love to read (of course) and sew.

What’s your favorite thing about the library/something people should know about the library? It’s not just about books! We do have a lot of those, but we also have & offer much, much more.

What are you currently reading/watching/listening to (and/or what are some of your favorite books, movies, artists, albums, etc.)? Some of my favorite authors include Linda Castillo, Karen Slaughter, Paula Munier, Lynette Eason, and Tracie Peterson, but I am always trying new authors also! Mission Impossible, National Treasure, Indiana Jones, The Librarian and the Avenger movies are favorites, and Unforgettable, Crime Scene Kitchen, Monk, Perception, and Guy’s Grocery Games are my go-to TV shows.

 

Tammy Sickmon, Youth Services Librarian

Youth Services Librarian: Tammy Sickmon

youth@cortlandfreelibrary.org

Q & A with Tammy

What’s your role at the library? What are your (main) responsibilities? As Youth Services Librarian, I purchase and maintain our youth library collection; conduct research and reader’s advisory; develop age-appropriate programming and activities for ages birth to 18 years for the library as well as within the community.

What’s your background? I received a Masters of Library and Information Science from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and have worked in public libraries with children for 27 years, 19 of which as a Children’s Librarian.

What else should we know about you? I live in Homer, NY with my husband, two children, our dog, cat and lots of chickens. I enjoy reading, camping, hiking, boating and spending time with family and friends.

What’s your favorite thing about the library/something people should know about the library? That the library is a community center that is free and accessible for everyone.

What are you currently reading/watching/listening to (and/or what are some of your favorite books, movies, artists, albums, etc.)? Some of my favorite authors are Kristin Hannah, Lisa Gardner, Liane Moriarty and Sarah J. Maas. As in books, I love all genres of movies and I gravitate towards classical, musical theatre and rock music.

 

Youth Services Library Assistant: Jaymie Closson

jaymie@cortlandfreelibrary.org

Q & A with Jaymie

What’s your role at the library? What are your (main) responsibilities? I am the Youth Services Library Assistant. I help Miss Tammy with whatever tasks she needs me to do, including helping our patrons, social media, in-house advertising and craft clubs.

What’s your background? I live in the town of Taylor with my husband Riley, our son Brooks and the family pet, our dog Oliver. I am also the Taylor Town Clerk and Tax Collector.

What else should we know about you? I enjoy spending time at home with my family, reading, Netflix, and bonfires.

What’s your favorite thing about the library/something people should know about the library? There is so much more to the library than just books!

What are you currently reading/watching/listening to (and/or what are some of your favorite books, movies, artists, albums, etc.)? I enjoy all types of music, podcasts and books! Depending on my mood is the direction I will go. It changes from week to week. One week I will read a romance and the next week, a murder mystery.

 

Photo of Aimee's dog Toby

Library Materials & Cataloging Specialist: Aimee Dorward

cataloging@cortlandfreelibrary.org

Q & A with Aimee

What’s your role at the library? What are your (main) responsibilities? As the Library Cataloging and Materials Specialist I have two main responsibilities: adding all new library materials to the catalog and compiling lists of adult items for possible purchase.

What’s your background? I am a Cortland native who has worked at the library in some capacity since 1999.

What else should we know about you? Dog owner. Novice bird watcher. Sports fanatic. TV, movie, and music enthusiast.

What’s your favorite thing about the library/something people should know about the library? I love how some items in the library (books, check-out cards) have been around for decades.

What are you currently reading/watching/listening to (and/or what are some of your favorite books, movies, artists, albums, etc.)? I am a fan of true-crime content, comedy shows or movies, animal stories, and anything sports related.

 

Circulation Desk Assistant: Kristen Case

Q & A with Kristen

 

Circulation Desk Assistant: Tim Haskell

Q & A with Tim

What’s your role at the library? What are your (main) responsibilities? I work at the circulation desk where I check in books, check out books, re-shelve, assist with reference questions, and help patrons find their next great reading journey.

What’s your background? I worked in higher education for twenty years. I have experience teaching students from diverse backgrounds, and I have held tenured positions at two institutions. I hold three degrees in English: A.A. (TC3); B.A. (SUNY Cortland); M.A. (SUNY Cortland). I am currently an aspiring lawyer with a focus on contracts and copyright law. I hope to obtain my J.D. and sit for the bar exam by 2024.

What’s your favorite thing about the library/something people should know about the library? The Cortland Free Library is very special to me. I would be nowhere in this world without the background I received from being a patron as a child. I would clutch as many books as I could, and I would treasure bringing them home, holding them, and, most importantly, devouring them with my eyes and soul. My parents instilled a love of books on me from the time I was a child; I was fortunate to have such a great institution to support all of my reading and personal enrichment endeavors. I am a book lover in every sense, and I know I would not be the person I am without the Cortland Free Library.

What else should we know about you? I returned to Cortland in 2017 after living near Hartford, Connecticut for approximately ten years. I was so happy to return, and I continued teaching until 2022. I joined the library in June of 2022, and I am thrilled to be here. My spouse and I have two cats—Poe and Harbo; we also have two dogs—Leopold Bloom and Lord Byron. I have my own “library” at home of approximately ten-thousand books, and it all started when I began buying used books as a child at yearly Cortland Free Library book sales.

What are you currently reading/watching/listening to (and/or what are some of your favorite books, movies, artists, albums, etc.)? Reading: I read books like most people binge-watch Netflix, so it’s tough to pick a current read—they’re always titles I am intrigued by, so I snag random books all the time. Some of my favorite authors are Marcel Proust, Harold Bloom, John Keats, Percy Bysshe Shelley, Fyodor Dostoyevsky Nella Larsen, Gloria Naylor, Raquel V. Reyes, and Gillian Flynn.

 

Circulation Desk Assistant: Abigail Hitchcock

Q & A with Abby

What’s your role at the library? What are your (main) responsibilities? My role at the library is circulation assistant. My main responsibilities are checking books in and out to patrons, putting the books back on the shelf after they're returned and checked in.

What’s your background? I was homeschooled from kindergarten, all the way up to 12th grade. I loved every moment of it!

What else should we know about you? My hobbies include reading fantasy novels and writing fanfictions about my favorite fictional couple.

What’s your favorite thing about the library/something people should know about the library? My favorite thing about the library is the large selection of animal books in both the adult and children's nonfiction sections.

What are you currently reading/watching/listening to (and/or what are some of your favorite books, movies, artists, albums, etc.)? I am currently reading anything fairytale or dragons-related that I can get my hands on (I'm a bit of a dragon nerd, to quote Disney's Raya). I'm currently listening to and enjoying some songs by Imagine Dragons and songs from Sight & Sound's musical production "Queen Esther". The show I am currently binge-watching is "Reign", which is loosely based on the life of Mary, Queen of Scots. I find the Tudor era fascinating as well, so the show has been a real treat to me.

 

Circulation Desk Assistant: William Howard

Q & A with Will