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'I read all the time:' Bemidji children's librarian shares her love of books with kids

Christina Massee reads a book with 3-year-old Layney Anderson during a lapsit reading program at Bemidji Public Library.

BEMIDJI -- Four times a week, you can find Christina Massee reading for storytime and creating a craft with children at the Bemidji Public Library.

Not only does Massee read with the children, "I get to buy the books for the kids," Massee said.

She has been library assistant, specifically the children's librarian, at Bemidji Public Library for three years.

Massee studied education for the high school level in college and spent her first year after graduation serving with AmeriCorps in an elementary school library in North Carolina.

"I wasn't ready to teach when I finished that year, so I started looking for jobs and found this one," Massee explained.

While her favorite part of the job is working with and planning programming for children who come into the library, Massee also works at desk checking in and out books, sits at the information desk and shelves books.

As Massee sees it, the role of the library is changing, "The library is turning into a community center," as people are coming in for more than just books.

"People are coming to the library to use computers, (and) they check out movies," she said.

Electronic books are also becoming part of the library experience. The Kitchigami Regional Library System, of which the Bemidji library is one branch, makes e-books available to patrons for lending as well as traditional books.

"Everybody comes in and says, 'It's great,'" Massee said of the availability of e-books. "It's obviously a growth area for us."

While the library does have e-books for children, "I think sometimes it's harder to grasp the story for kids books because so much it is about the pictures," Massee said.

She doesn't see physical books disappearing anytime soon.

"The collection (of electronic books) isn't as big as here in the library, so if you're looking for something specific, then a lot of the times its still easier to get it from here," Massee said.

Massee, herself, has a love for reading and books.

"I read all the time, way too much," she said. "That's what's good and bad about getting to work at the library, because you see all the new stuff that's coming in."

Maggi Stivers

Maggi Stivers is a Multi-Media Journalist at the Bemidji Pioneer. She covers art and entertainment in the Bemidji area. She is a 2013 Bemidji State graduate majoring in mass communications with a minor in sociology. Contact her at (218) 333-9790 or

(218) 333-9790