Joe Stoner

Joe Stoner

Library Manager

Alameda County Library

Newark, CA USA

Today, libraries are all about enabling and inspiring people to achieve their goals.


My road in life took a while to figure out.
Two summers with a touring music group. I played lead trombone in a big band and then orchestra. We rode a bus and stayed with host families giving a concert every day.
Resident intern in a half-way house. Lived with a dozen men and women of all ages recently paroled from prison.
Truck Driver. After college, feeling trapped by expectations. I needed a big change so I drove 18-wheelers cross-country for 15 months, sleeping in the cab. Proud I could "float the gears."
Caregiver for disabled adults. While I got my master's degree I worked from 10 pm Friday to 3 pm Sunday, caring for men with physical and mental disabilities. Yes, I got paid to sleep.
Librarian. First librarian job in Las Vegas NV. I loved meeting a wide range of people and hearing their life stories.
Library Outreach Dept Supervisor. Told I was hired because they could tell I cared and wasn't just in it for the next promotion. Teased for years for being shy, learned I enjoyed public speaking.
Job hunting for 15 months, 14 interviews. Following my partner to CA, I learned that competition for jobs varies widely. Similar jobs in the same region can have far more applicants.
Library Manager, San Francisco Bay Area. Get to meet and work with many fascinating people from all over the world.
Keep following my journey


Library Manager

I manage a public library with about 20 staff.

Career Roadmap

My work combines:
My work combines:
Communicating / Sharing Stories

Day to Day

Being a public librarian is usually a combination of providing programs, community outreach, and assisting library visitors. I tell people my work is a bit like teaching and social work, without the paperwork. Some of my fondest memories are playing trombone during school visits or racing cardboard sleds during a summer camp. Many times I think visitors of all ages just need encouragement. Several people told me of a loved one who just died. I'm honored to hear everyone's story.

Advice for Getting Started

Here's the first step for everyone

#1. Talk with library staff about how they got hired. Each library system has unique hiring processes. #2. Volunteer, especially with library programs. #3. You can study anything in college—anything—and become a librarian. If you aspire to management, business or accounting could help, but I know Music, Art, Dance, and Theater majors who have had impressive library careers. #4. Get a master's degree accredited by the American Library Association. Many places require this to be a librarian.

Recommended Education

My career is related to what I studied. I'd recommend the path I took:


The Noise I Shed

From Friends:

"But librarians don't make money. It's boring. Does anyone even use the library anymore?"

Challenges I Overcame