This periodic series of three images and responses to questions tells the stories of people of The Valley who love what they do. As Confucius once said, “Choose a job you love and you will never work a day in your life.”
This month features Cory Stephenson, library director, Moretown Memorial Library.
How long have you lived in Vermont and where did you grow up?
After visiting since 2000, my family and I moved to The Valley in 2007. I was born in Boulder, CO, and grew up in Cedar Rapids, IA.
What did you want to be when you grew up?
A veterinarian or a biochemist.
What was your first job and how did you get it?
My first job was detasseling corn at age 14; I was saving up for my very own papasan chair.
Who was the biggest influence in your decision to choose the work you now do?
I had several teachers in graduate school and then later great co-workers at the Harris Center for Conservation Education in NH who helped me discover the magic of connecting people to their place and each other.
What steps did you take to get where you are today/what sacrifices have you made to get to this point in the work you do?
Although it feels like an excellent fit now, becoming a librarian was somewhat accidental. Spending some time working ‘in the real world’ after college helped me find a different way to keep science in my life while also integrating teaching and lifelong learning as a naturalist/educator. That evolved into the work of place-based education and building community, something that our small rural libraries are great at doing.
What is the best job advice that you’ve ever received?
Collaboration is key; you get so much more done when you reach out and work together.
What are you most grateful for in your life?
I am most grateful for living on this land with all that it gives us, and being in a community with others who care for it and each other. Also watching my children grow and take flight into lives of their own.
How do you give back?
For many years, I have committed to volunteering my time in a variety of ways, most recently as a postpartum angel with Good Beginnings. It has been a gift to pay it forward and support families as they welcome their newest addition, as I once needed and received such help.
What do you do in your free time?
I love to be outside in the garden, wandering the woods, on my bike or on my skis. And, of course, reading!
A special thank you to Mallory and Jackson Mitchell who agreed to be photographed while Cory read them a story.