As part of our ongoing series of blog posts highlighting our awesome staff throughout the Free Library of Philadelphia, today we take some time to speak with Sunita Balija, who is a Children's Librarian at Donatucci Library in South Philadelphia. Her boundless energy and creative spirit are evident whether she is helping a patron find a book, visiting a neighborhood school as part of community outreach, or filming and creating one of her wholly unique and entertaining storytime videos. She is also an accomplished and talented South Indian Classical Music (Carnatic) Vocalist, sharing her gift of song while also teaching cultural diversity to patrons of all ages.
What is your role with the Free Library of Philadelphia?
I am a Children's Librarian at Donatucci Library and a Union Steward for AFSCME DC 47 Local 2187.
What do you wish more people knew about the library where you work?
That we are more than books, that libraries are not meant to be silent or neutral.
What is the most satisfying aspect of your job?
Doing programs for patrons utilizing my own interests such as South Indian Classical Music, learning new skills like crafting, revisiting my youth and what I loved to read but through the eyes of our kids, learning about the history of the library and its connection with other City departments, and how important workers are to our city and community.
What are you currently reading / watching?
Homecoming by Cynthia Voigt, a devastating YA classic about four siblings on the search for family.
Where’s your favorite place to read in Philly?
My own personal cozy book-nook, which consists of a comfy chair, a cup of tea, and soft lighting near the window.
Tune in to Donatucci Library's Facebook page every Friday afternoon at 3:00 p.m. for Storytime with Miss Sunita! You can also watch and hear Sunita sing in a special cross-library and cross-cultural program on Saturday, December 12 at 2:00 p.m., during a Lecture-Demonstration on South Indian Classical Music (Carnatic), through the Elizabeth Public Library!
Do you have a favorite librarian or other Free Library staff member at your neighborhood library you think we should shine a spotlight on? Let us know in the comments!