Library Trustee Q&A: Maja Young

Maja Young is running for Board of Library Trustees.

Tell people about your background — family, professional background, volunteering, government, activism — and how that will help you as a Library Trustee?

I grew up in Watertown and after living and studying in New York , LA, and Boston I came back to live close to my mom and I wanted to raise my own kids here.  I have a background in acting, shiatsu (a type of massage therapy) and professional childcare. I spent a year after college as a librarian/story teller in a public elementary school in Boston. I have always loved reading everything from books about anthropology to detective novels, historical fiction, humor … I love discovering new books and talking about books with people. This is my first time running for any political office and I am really enjoying talking to people and learning more about our library. So far, my favorite experience campaigning was giving away free used books and meeting people at the Fair on the Square. 

What is your favorite thing about the Watertown Free Public Library?

There are lots of things I love about the library but my favorite thing would have to be the librarians. We have amazing librarians. I have never been disappointed when asking for recommendations. They are all great! I appreciate all the staff and the librarians for all they do to keep our library running smoothly. We have a beautiful clean space to enjoy so I am grateful to the people who take care of the space as well.

How did you decide to run for the Board of Library Trustees, and why do you think the board plays an important role for Watertown residents?

As my kids are growing up, I started to take a little more time to look outside of myself and my family, shifting my gaze to the community around me and wanted to get more involved. I am a people person, I love meeting new people from all over the world which is one of the greatest things about living in Watertown. I think local politics is a great way to make a difference in the world around us. Because I love reading and I feel strongly about the many important roles libraries play on our communities, I decided to run for library trustee. I hope to be an advocate for the library and to help the library fulfill their mission. I also hope to be a voice for the residents and what they need from the library.

What is the most pressing issue facing the Watertown Library? 

Funding is always an issue facing public libraries. As our town changes and grows, our library needs to grow with it, and this takes money. Our library is one of the finest in the greater Boston area, and we need to continue to make sure we get the funds we need to expand the makers’ space, keep our collection of books up to date, and to keep providing awesome programs and events for the public. We also have a project in the works that is a “book-mobile,” which will make the library more accessible. This is just one example of something very worthwhile that requires funding.

Watertown has many residents who have moved to the area from outside the United States, many of whom do not speak English as their first language. What can the Watertown Library do to help these residents, and how will you find out what types of services they want from the library in their new hometown?

The library offers ESL classes and tutors through the project literacy program. They also offer classes to help people apply for citizenship and pass the test. There are books that people can borrow in other languages, and some of the other programs offered are great for getting to know others in the community and learning other useful skills. It’s important that the library do all they can to reach out to new members of the community, especially those who don’t speak English as a first language to find out how we can best serve them.

What is something that people may not know about you that residents would find interesting

Something people may not know about me is that when I was a student at Watertown High School, I got a grant to get an artist in residence to come to the high school for a semester to help students create an art installation memorial in the lobby of the high school. This was in honor of my best friend who died of cancer when we were in the fifth grade. Many students created tiles in honor of someone they lost or something meaningful to them. The center of the installation is a beautiful clock. The art installation is still there so you can look up and see it the next time you walk through the front doors of Watertown High School.  

Thanks for taking the time to read about me.