Laurie Heathcock
Trent Penny/The Anniston Star

As the education librarian at Jacksonville State University’s Houston Cole Library, Laurie Heathcock was the driving force behind the new “Children’s Corner” at the library. Tonight at 6 p.m., the Children’s Corner kicks off a new weekly storytime event. This first storytime will be led by Cocky and the JSU cheerleaders.

What is your professional background?

 I went to the University of Alabama and got my degree in library science and got the job here at Jacksonville State University a few weeks before graduation. I have been here for 16 years.

As a librarian, do you teach classes, as well?

We teach some library instruction classes. Last semester, I taught an honors credit course on a topic. We also do teaching on research skills. The public services librarians do teach courses.

Is there a library sciences degree available at JSU?

There is a school media degree that is offered through our school of library media; with this degree you could work in a library in a school system.

Did you always enjoy reading?

Always. My parents found some old books I had in my childhood, and I had put “Laurie Charnigo (my last name at the time) Library” inside the books. I put in little cards in the books and loaned them out to my friends; I guess I was playing library (laughter). I always wanted to be a librarian.

What were the most influential books for you as a child?

“Only One Ant,” because even though the ant is very tiny, it is very important. Because I read that book, I think I am very sensitive — and a vegetarian. Another important book was “Whose Mouse Are You?” I also really liked the “Dorrie the Little Witch” series.

What is a typical workday like for you?

I help students and professors with research. I work the reference desk. We order books, and my favorite to order are the children’s books. I do a lot of teaching.

Tell us more about the storytime event.

Tonight, Cocky and the cheerleaders will kick it off! Each night will have a certain theme. It will be held every Tuesday and the last Thursday of every month. The “Children’s Corner” space is also available for people to book it for a meeting or birthday or some other event.

Tell us about creating this fun space.

To me, this area looked like a bunch of dead space that needed to be used, so I went to my dean and asked if we could do a children’s room. He told me to write up a proposal and get some grants and donations. This took a year. I picked the blue paint and green carpet to make it feel like we are outdoors. We have all these JSU bleacher seats, so that they can be put in the floor.

Can the public check out books from the Houston Cole library?

Yes, you may check out books from this library if you are not a student. You need to purchase a Friends of the Library card ($10), and you may borrow up to five books, not just in the children’s section.

Faith Dorn is a freelance writer in Anniston. Contact her at faith.h.dorn@gmail.com.