Long-Time Kodiak Librarian Reflects on Career in Kodiak


Hear the entire interview from Talk of the Rock here:


Brianna Gibbs/KMXT
After more than 13 years serving as the director of the A. Holmes Johnson Memorial Library, Joe D’Elia will say his goodbyes to the organization this month. He and the library will both be making moves to new locations, but while the library will only have to travel uphill to it’s new building, D’Elia will move to Florida to be closer to family. KMXT’s Brianna Gibbs caught up with D’Elia recently and asked him what he’ll miss the most.
“One of the great things about being a librarian is picking the books. Picking everything in the collection, and like I said we sort of do it collectively at the library. And that’s just great, and it’s just great knowing that people are utilizing these things. And it’s great answering questions, that’s very rewarding. So I’m going to miss all that as a library career. And you know I’m going to miss all our library users. I mean after 13 years you get to know all the regular people and they’re all really nice. And now that they sort of know I’m going it’s sort of nice that they’re stopping by to say so long and we hope everything is going to work out for you. It’s really a very rewarding experience to have that public interaction all the time.”
In addition to helping usher the library further into the digital age, D’Elia also helped the Kodiak Public Library Association and a slew of community members make the new library on borough hill a reality.
“I’m sorry I won’t be here to see it. I’ll try to make a visit back just to see it.”
D’Elia, as a library director, is obviously very supportive of books, but he’s also helped the organization fine tune its film collection. He produced a regular radio show for KMXT that reviewed films available at the library, and brought greater attention to classic cinema within the community.
As more and more books are being turned into films, D’Elia’s love for literature and film prompted a very important question: “What do you think is better, a book or a movie?”
“I always think the book is better,” he said. “Always, always. Although I think there’s been terrific movies made of books, and some of my favorite movies were based on books. But you know, they’re different. You can’t, it’s almost impossible, in my opinion, to film all the nuances of the book. You can’t really compare the novel to the film. I think the novel stands on its own merits and the film stands on its own merits.”
D’Elia’s last day at the library will be June 21. He said his hope is to leave Kodiak shortly after that.

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