Library Director Danielle Brigati says at a library in a smaller community, like Butt-Holdsworth Memorial Library, her job is very diverse, everything from community outreach to overseeing air conditioning repairs.
“I do whatever any manager would do, inside or outside of the municipal system.”
She says she oversees the operations staff, including two full-time librarians, one for services administration and one for youth services; two library assistants, one keeping track of purchases and one tracking interlibrary loans; three circulation clerks, and one part-time library clerk.
“But titles are deceptive,” she says. “In a library like BHML everybody pitches in, from running the circulation desk to overseeing the many events scheduled in the building.”
She says those events include a quilting group that meets downstairs, Friends of the Library book sales, history programs, the Brown Bag Book Club, and the Great Discussions series. The 2020 Great Discussions kicked off Tuesday afternoon with a video and readings, talking about climate change.
“Besides events, we have a very diverse collection,” she says. “It includes books, audiotapes, and e-books available for checkout. We also have an extensive collection of legal forms, through TexasLawHelp. org, and the Mango Languages program which teaches 70 languages.
The higher-tech publications are reflected in our fully online catalogue, accessible within the building or from a cardholder’s home. Cardholders can search and reserve books, then come in to check them out.”
Brigati says she was born and raised in West Bloomfield Township, in Michigan. She graduated from Ladywood Catholic High School in 1987, then attended Eastern Michigan University in Ypsilanti, Mich., for a year.
“We were on the Great Lakes, and I bought a sailboat. I moved down to St. Augustine, Fla., and lived on it for four or five years. I would earn a little money, then my daughter, Alexandria, and our cat and dog, would sail around a bit. When Alexandra couldn’t come, she would stay with my parents, Daniel and Ann Moulton.”
She says while she was in Florida, working in a store in a mall, the security consultant, Robert Brigati, ran the first active shooter drill Brigati had seen. “He asked me out, and for our first date we went to historic downtown St. Augustine. We walked around, had dinner, then toured the Castillo de San Marcos, the stone fortress Spain built to protect the city. Then we walked along the waterfront.”
She says then she started working in retail management, first for the Fragrance Outlet. They moved her around a lot, and she ended up in San Antonio. While she was there she started substitute teaching, and discovered she really liked helping students use the library.
Brigati says, “I got tired of retail management and moving, and saw an ad for a sales position at Tuesday Morning. When I applied, they said I was over-qualified, and they had a small store in Kerrville that really needed a manager. They convinced me to look it over. The more I saw of Kerrville, the more I liked the town, so I took the job.” She later worked for Big Lots, also in Kerrville.
Robert retired, and they married in 2010.
But Brigati kept pursuing her passion for library service, combining it with her management training. She says, “While I was working, I earned a bachelor of arts in sociology from Fort Hays State University, then a master of library science from University of North Texas. Once I was qualified, I applied to BHML, and was offered a cataloguing position in February of 2013. In May, 2014, the library staff was reorganized, and I became assistant director.”
She says after the former director, Laura Bechtel, resigned to move up north, Brigati was named library director starting Aug. 9.
Her daughter now lives in Palm Springs, Calif. Brigati says though Alexandria has a degree in computer science, she is a freelance writer and, since she’s fluent in Russian, she serves as a translator, interpreter, and instructor for Russian immigrants.
“Robert and I live on my best friend’s ranch,” Brigati says. “I ride Western as a hobby, on my horse, Bingo, and we have two dogs and three cats. I also like to hike and kayak, and I ‘attempt’ to fish. On vacation, we like to visit national parks. I’m a member of Kerrville Morning Rotary, and we’re active in St. Stanislaus Catholic Church in Bandera. My favorite scripture is Psalms 46:10, ‘Be still, and know that I am God.’”