Meet Sonja Vloeberghs, the inexhaustibly positive and fun-loving manager of the Lending Services Department. Hailing from Hoboken, Belgium (a town made famous by the children’s story “A Dog of Flanders”), she’s ready at a moment’s notice to help patrons and employees alike.
Q: You’ve had many responsibilities at the library. What was your first job here?
A: I started as a volunteer in 2005, validating parking tickets and introducing customers to our (then) brand new self-check system. My first paid job was retrieving, cleaning, or replacing missing or damaged audiovisual items.
Q: What do you like best about working in Lending Services?
A: I enjoy the daily interaction with customers, chatting about the weather, their travel plans, what’s going on in town, or the latest book they’ve read. Often when patrons see my last name they start guessing about the pronunciation and the origin of it. This usually results in fascinating conversations.
Q: You grew up in Belgium. Did you often go to a library there?
A: I have been a member of a public library since my childhood. I used to walk to the “bibliobus,” the mobile library that visited my neighborhood every week. After I read everything on that bus, I started biking to the small library in town, where there were enough books to keep me busy. In college I did research at the Public Library of Antwerp, but kept going to the Hoboken Public Library for leisure reading.
Q: You've recently taken up golf. How is that going?
A: Very well. It’s more complicated than I thought it would be but I am making progress. I like that I can fully concentrate on the game and can forget about everything else. It’s almost like reading a book.
Q: Which sections of our library do you most like to browse?
A: I like browsing the new book collection just to have an idea of what’s out there. But I usually end up in the non-fiction 364 area, also known as the crime section…
Q: What's the best book you've read recently?
A: “If I Did It: Confessions of the Killer” by O. J. Simpson and the Goldman family. I enjoyed reading about the controversy. It’s hard to tell whether the book is a confession or not, and how much of it is true. Is it a novel, a non-fiction crime story or an autobiography?