Wen Livingston has always loved books.
“I think I was born a librarian,” Livingston said. “My room as a child was set up like a library.”
After spending much of her adult life in several other states, the Pensacola native has come back to her roots and is Destin’s new library director.
“This is my dream job,” Livingston said.
Livingston graduated from the University of West Florida with a degree in marketing. She spent several years working in marketing and sales in Texas before moving to Kansas City, Missouri. That’s where she started her work in libraries.
“Both of my kids were small and I decided I needed to be up there to see what they were doing in school, so I volunteered at the school library,” Livingston said.
The school librarian became a mentor to Livingston and helped get the ball rolling for Livingston’s career in the library system. When Livingston moved to Saint Louis, she dived headfirst into her librarian career. Starting as a desk clerk, she eventually worked her way up to a manager position and got her master of library science degree.
After a few years in Saint Louis, Livingston decided she was tired of the cold and took a senior librarian position with the Pensacola Library. After a while, they made her the branch manager of the library in Molino, Florida, which was a homecoming of sorts for Livingston.
“It was 10 minutes from where I grew up,” Livingston said. “A lot of people knew my family and remembered me from when I was a child.”
After going through the 10-month long Sunshine State Library Leadership program, Livingston heard about the open position for the Destin Library director and decided it was worth a shot.
“I’m just so excited to be here,” Livingston said. “I’ve really enjoyed the people so far and the staff is great.”
With her open-door policy and library outreach plans, Livingston hopes she can get involved with the community quickly.
“I want to find out what the community likes and what their needs are and then I want to have it available for them,” Livingston said.
One of her plans involve digitizing people’s old photos and videos so that they can be saved and shared in a digital format.
“So many people have things that they want to scan and put online to share with other people, “Livingston said. “I think there are a lot of things that we can get into to help.”
As for the thought that libraries will start to disappear, Livingston disagrees.
“Everyone thought that with the Kindle or Google that the library would die,” she said. “But it’s still a busy place and we’re still full of people.”
Ultimately, Livingston just wants people to know that the library is a place to study, unwind and gather.
“We’re here to help people,” Livingston said.