Marin County Free Library hires new library branch manager for coast

Teresa Mathew
Raemona Little Taylor, the West Marin libraries' new branch manager, formerly managed a small independent bookstore and worked as a cultural arts specialist at a community center in Nashville, Tenn. She took the reins last month from Bonny White.  

A new chapter has begun for the West Marin libraries, as former branch manager Bonny White, who held the position for the past decade, passes the torch to Raemona Little Taylor. Ms. White was promoted to the position of deputy director of the Marin County Free Library in June, and until October served in both roles. She said Ms. Little Taylor—a Tennessee native with a keen interest in equity—“is just what we need, and makes it easier for me to move away from a job that I’ve loved every single day.” Ms. Little Taylor worked at the Fairfax Library for a year in teen and adult services after moving west from Nashville, where she had also worked as a librarian. “What brought me here was the Marin County Free Library,” she said. “What really struck me was the library and county’s commitment to increasing educational equity, particularly as it affects the African American and Latino communities in Marin. That was a huge draw for me: the ability to connect with the equity work the county and library were doing.” While in Fairfax, Ms. Little Taylor started a discussion series that centered on documentary films focused on stories of traditionally marginalized groups and involved speakers to generate community conversation. She is excited about her work in West Marin and the opportunities to connect to education initiatives through partnerships with West Marin and Inverness Schools and Papermill Creek Children’s Corner. She said she relished the “opportunity to work with such a tight-knit community and hopefully make a great impact through community partnerships.” Many of those partnerships were first forged by Ms. White, who significantly expanded programming during her tenure. After she took over in 2008, she said, the library “completely re-did literacy services, focused on the Latino population and focused on raising test scores and helping families enjoy life and what the library has to offer.” She said, “Libraries have always been a place where people who didn’t have access to a formal education could come and educate themselves. In terms of equity, the way we think about it is a person’s race or ethnicity still has so much to do with determining their life’s outcomes, and we don’t want that to be true anymore.” Annemarie Russo, who has worked for two years as the library’s literacy program coordinator, said Ms. White “is a really strong leader. She’s a strong supporter of equity and closing the education gap, particularly in our area. I know she was always fighting for resources out there. Often West Marin doesn’t have some of the same services as central Marin, because we don’t have the same density in numbers. And she would speak to how people still deserve these services.” Ms. Russo described the role she sees the libraries playing: not just as a place where people come to research and study, but also as a community center of sorts. “A place for people of all ages, where sometimes it’s loud, there’s activities going on. It’s a source of information. It’s exciting to have somebody that is supportive of the library being a very versatile place for people.” The library is planning welcome parties for Ms. Little Taylor in all four West Marin branches in the coming months. The first will take place in Point Reyes Station on Thursday, Nov. 29 from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m.