An Interview with SMCL’s Tom Fortin


Tom Fortin, Deputy Director of San Mateo County LibraryThe good people at SMCL love their jobs--which means they love being a part of and serving our community. They find answers, protect our intellectual freedom and provide the services and resources we need and want. What more could we ask for? I can only think of one thing. How about the chance to get to know the unique and talented individuals who make our library so wonderful? So today we kick off a blog series spotlighting various SMCL staff members and give them a chance to share even more than they already have—a little bit about themselves.

Getting to Know Tom Fortin: Who Are You and Where Are You From?

“My name is Tom Fortin, and I am a librarian with nearly 25 years of experience working in public libraries in different parts of the U.S. I am originally from Moorhead, Minnesota, in the heart of the Red River Valley of the North.”

What Inspired You to Work in Libraries?

“My interest in library service is grounded in my love of the endless quest for information. As a kid, I found statistics and encyclopedias compelling and this fascination carried over into an interest in the type of reference service provided by public libraries.”

What Do You Do at SMCL and Where Can We Find You?

“I am a deputy director for the library and I mostly work to support the branch managers as they work with their staff in the delivery of public service. I also help with oversight of collection development and the purchasing of new circulating materials for our patrons.”

(Note: Did you know that you can suggest materials for SMCL to purchase? There’s a purchase suggestion form on the library website.)

What Do You Like Most About Your Job?

“I like learning from staff about all the fun and innovative things they do to engage their communities. Whether it’s programming for kids after school, displaying new materials, or finding new efficiencies in their work practices, it’s always good and it shows a genuine concern staff have for doing the best they can to serve their patrons.”

(Note: Check out our calendar of events to see what interests you!)

What Would You Tell People About Libraries That They Might Not Know?

“That public libraries have been very responsive to changes in technology and that we are busier now than we ever have been. The advent of the internet and e-books has only served to increase our business and we are prepared to continue to evolve with our communities in the future.”

(Note: Check out our e-books for free!)

What Are You an (Un)Official Expert On?

“I am a library expert on business information. I’m a bit of a news junkie, and I love to follow the ups and downs of various companies, industries and the economy.”

What Are Your Hobbies?

“I’m a runner and work out at the gym, but my favorite hobby is discovering new hiking trails in the Bay Area. I love the geography of the area and there’s limitless possibility for new vistas.”

What Book, Movie, and Album Would You Take With You to a Deserted Island?

Love Medicine by Louise Erdrich, The Trip to Bountiful, and Annie Lennox’s Medusa.”

Who Is Your Favorite Fictional Character of All Time?

Frodo Baggins.”

If You Could Have One Superpower, What Would It Be?

“Speed reading! (for obvious reasons)”

What is Your Go-To Dessert?

“Ice cream and ginger snaps.”

(Note: Yum! Check out The Perfect Scoop by David Lebovitz for a gingersnap ice cream recipe.)

In One Word, What Do Libraries Mean to You?


Photo credit: Tom Fortin


Author Bio:

Intern Anthony Andora looks forward to the day when he finishes grad school and joins the ranks of cool librarians like Tom.


Your cool glasses!

Where are they?

Kudos to Intern Anthony Andora!

Anthony: What an excellent idea - interviewing San Mateo County Library staff members so that the public can get to know them better. Thank you for providing this information on our Deputy Director, Tom Fortin. Perfect leap year, leap day blog! Sereptha Strong EPA


Thanks, Sereptha. I'm glad I had a chance to do this. It's been fun!

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