Tyndall Librarians series: Patti Cantrell

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Magen M. Reeves
  • 325th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

Patti Cantrell, 325th Force Support Squadron library aide, found her calling working at the Tyndall Library completely by accident when she volunteered her time in 2017. She did not anticipate she would develop a passion for library science.

Cantrell began her professional career by pursuing degrees in computer networking and cybersecurity after she left her hometown of Coopersville, Michigan, to follow her husband whose family lived in Panama City, Florida. She found it hard to find employment despite her education.

“Most tech-focused organizations were looking for someone with a security clearance and practical experience already,” said Cantrell. “To get more practical experience on my resume, I started volunteering at the library to help with their computer lab. I found the day-to-day library work more fulfilling and interesting.”

Cantrell secured a position at the Tyndall Library in 2018. She also achieved a master’s degree in library science, which she uses every day.

“My favorite part [about library science] is being able to connect someone with something they're looking for,” said Cantrell. “I like offering suggestions and recommendations based on a few key words, and managing to pick out something a patron ends up really enjoying.”

Cantrell finds ways to utilize her skills to enhance the opportunities Tyndall’s library has to offer. She uses her computer and technology talents to create digital presentations for the unit’s bi-weekly Story Time; an interactive, page-by-page story time children and their parents can enjoy from the comfort of their own home. First, Cantrell photographs the pages of the book and loads them into a program, then she records an audio track of the wording as if reading to an audience, lastly, she complies the final presentation in a video experience.

“The library is a great place for active duty members and their families to get their minds off whatever might be going on in their lives: stressful days at work, maybe a deployment looming, kids running circles around a parent who needs a break, or even a bored kid needing more things to do,” said Cantrell. “I like being a part of that. Everyone deserves to be able to relax however they need to and recharge for the next day.”

In addition to creating the bi-weekly Story Time video presentations, Cantrell assists patrons with selecting items based on the individual’s preference from a wide-range of entertainment mediums.

“I'd like people to know that we're not just books,” said Cantrell. “Our movie selection is fantastic. We've got new release video games for all the major video game systems. We've got a growing graphic novel selection for adults, young adults, and kids as well, with a huge variety. We've got tabletop role playing game books anyone can check out for a weekend game with friends. We've got electronic resources readily available for learning languages, getting certifications, checking out e-books, audiobooks, digital magazines, and tons more.”

To participate in a bi-weekly Story Time presentation hand-created by Cantrell, visit www.facebook.com/tyndalllibrary every other Wednesday.

Tyndall’s Library is open Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and is located on the second floor of the Base Support Center, Bldg. 662. They can be reached at tafblibrary@gmail.com or by calling 850-283-2325.