Library News

Carpenter Builds Community

The basics of building a house include laying a foundation, and of course, the stronger the better. Then come the walls, the roof, and suddenly, safety from the elements is yours. A non-profit library is similar in that it has its strong foundational mission, its walls and roof, and metaphorically speaking, they are the fun and creative services and opportunities it offers. Be it a house or a library, we all know the building is better with a good carpenter. Well, let me introduce you to our Library Assistant, Ally Carpenter.

Ally joined our library family in June 2023, and she is always a pleasure to work with. She is helpful, knowledgeable, and dedicated. You’ll find her at either library location, and, surely, you’ll quickly agree with patrons who have noted how much they appreciate her calm demeanor and warm personality.

A common misconception is that we librarians spend our days sitting on chaise lounges reading books and opining like characters in Victorian romance novels. We. Do. Not. As I type these words, Ally is busily working away, methodically “wanding” the fiction section. While wanding is not a Harry Potteresque term, this task does offer a bit of library magic. This handheld device looks an awful lot like a futuristic ax—perhaps the likes of what a Klingon would use in battle—but instead it scans the books on the shelves searching for any misplaced items and alerts the operator as to what is out of order and should be moved to its correct location. Magic!

In addition to wanding and other duties, Ally will also facilitate our new “Creative Connection” sessions, beginning this month on May 9 and 23 at 3 p.m. at the Village Library. This is your opportunity to bring a current art or crafting project to the Library and work on it while chatting and connecting with other creatives. If you’d like to share your most recent masterpiece, finished projects are welcome.

Ally will also be your artistic guru for the Village Library’s Free Flow Paint Afternoon on May 24 at 2 p.m. Unleash your inner artist and let your imagination lead you. Whether you’re a seasoned painter or have never picked up a brush before, this event is for you.

If you hadn’t already guessed, Ally is an artist as well as a librarian. Get to know her a bit more by reading her answers to our staff interview questions below.

Where were you born? 

“I was born in Nebraska, though I grew up in Conroe,Texas, near Houston. My family moved there when I was barely a one-year-old. I loved Texas, especially my family’s agri-tourism business when I was in high school. We had a petting zoo, and I got to help take care of the animals.”

What was your first job? 

“My (other) first job, before the petting zoo, was at another family business: a coffee shop that my mom owned and operated when I was still in grade school. I loved helping, and as we were home schooled, it was a great opportunity to meet new people.”

What book most influenced you and why?

“It is hard to pick one single book; every book I’ve read has had some sort of impact on my life. But the first book that really influenced me is The Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes. I tend to be a worrier, always asking ‘what if,’ and that has stopped me from experiencing things in life. Rhime’s book resonated with me as it addresses anxiety and fear of saying ‘yes’ to opportunities that may be outside my comfort zone. The book suggests feeling those fears then finding the courage to say ‘yes’ to life and to opportunities that scare me. Rhimes was a person known for saying ‘no’ to most opportunities, when she started saying ‘yes,’ even in the face of her fear, her life expanded. It inspired my own ‘year of yes,’ and I had a hugely rewarding year after I read that book. I worked at Glacier National Park in Montana; I renovated an RV camper; and then I lived in that camper.”

Are you on Team Dog or Team Cat and why?

“I am on team animal . . . PERIOD! Cat, dog, lizard, goat . . . I’ve not met an animal I didn’t like. All animals are unique and interesting in their own way, and I feel like they can be great teachers of lots of lessons, especially unconditional love, being present, and being yourself.”

Have you ever seen a ghost or a UFO? 

“I have never seen a ghost, though I love hearing about paranormal encounters.

I have seen a UFO. Just once when I was camping deep in the Utah desert in the middle of nowhere. To this day, I try to rationalize what I saw . . . but it was bizarre, and definitely an unidentified flying object.”

Any other information you’d like to share about yourself or what you do at the Library?

“Along with being an avid reader and nature lover, I’m also an artist. I work with just about every medium, but usually I create oil paintings and ink illustrations, and I take photographs. Nature is most often my muse. And I love working at Sedona Public Library. Not only are the patrons great and appreciative, but I truly like everyone that I work with. It’s a rare and wonderful experience.”

Stop in, meet Ally, say “hello,” and take a look around. Guaranteed, you’ll find something inspirational for both your mind and your soul. See you soon.

Sedona Public Library is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. Your gifts supplement the funding and support we receive from the City of Sedona, Coconino and Yavapai County property taxes, and Friends of the Sedona Library. Please visit to make an online gift.

As published by Red Rock News

Library News Column for April 26, 2024  
Written by Jan Marc Quisumbing, Scheduling Coordinator  


Library News appears each Friday here and in the Red Rock News.