BISMARCK, N.D. (KXNET)— Do you remember when you first thought about what you wanted to do with your life? For those of us who remember life before the internet, if we needed some inspiration to answer that question, we may have taken a trip to the library. For Mary Soucie, however, the answer wasn’t in the book, it was the book itself.

“Since I was a little kid, I wanted to be a librarian, North Dakota State Librarian Mary Soucie said. For Soucie, life has been all about education. “I was gonna teach first and be a librarian and I taught for two years and I jumped into children’s librarianship and that started my journey and I’ve been a librarian for almost 30 years,” Soucie said.

Growing up in the Chicago suburbs, the library became Soucie’s second home.

“I’ve always been a book reader my whole life. My mom was a reference librarian, so I spent a lot of time volunteering in the library. And then, I had a children’s librarian who just really encouraged a love of libraries, gave me lots of opportunities to volunteer. It just sparked a love that’s never gone away,” Soucie said.

Before moving to North Dakota, Soucie and her husband would visit family here. When the state librarian job opened up, she applied and got it, never thinking she’d find herself at the top of the bookshelf.

“I had never wanted to be a state librarian, but so incredibly grateful to be the state librarian,” Soucie said.

Though she does have quite a bit of administrative responsibility, Soucie said she’s still able to function as a typical librarian. “I still get to help select books sometimes. I get to go out to libraries and read books to kids and interact with the public, so it’s really the best of both worlds,” Soucie said.

A librarian of almost 30 years, Soucie has seen a lot of changes, but she believes what won’t change is just how essential libraries are. “As many people use libraries today as have, they just use us differently. We have some patrons that never walk through our doors, but because of the only resources that we have, whether it’s our online databases or our e-books, we have e-books, e-magazines, e-audiobooks and those get checked out a lot and so we have people that are using our resources all the time that we never see,” Soucie said.

When she’s not walking among the bookshelves or reading, she devotes some time to Bismarck baseball.

“My husband and I host Bismarck Larks players every Summer. We’ve been doing that for four years. “We love North Dakota and being the state librarian is the best job I could’ve imagined.”

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