There is nothing more powerful and uplifting than meaningful work! We look forward to highlighting Chapel Haven, ASAT and Chapel Haven West adults working in paid positions or volunteering happily in the Greater New Haven community. This week, we are shining a positive spotlight on Avi and his new job.
Avi Spechler is greatly enjoying working at the Institute Library in the heart of downtown New Haven.
Avi came to Chapel Haven with a master’s degree in library science from Indiana University and expressed his interest and passion for organizing and researching books with the CESO team. CESO stands for the Chapel Haven Center for Employment Services & Opportunities. Tim and Matt, our CESO partnership leads, networked in through local librarians to find this opportunity at the Institute Library. Sorting and cataloging books is a great match for Avi and the library has welcomed him with open arms.
“I like working with books and I like putting stuff in order,” says Avi, who joined Chapel Haven’s ASAT program in July. “You have to be very careful with the books. They can disintegrate on you very quickly,” especially some of the older and more valuable books in the Institute Library’s large collection.
It helps that the Institute Library is an amazing place to be. Founded in 1826, the library stretches over three floors of a historic building on Chapel Street, and is a tranquil blast from the past. Although its full name is the Young Men’s Institute of New Haven, the organization began admitting women around 1835. It is New Haven’s oldest community library and one of the few membership libraries remaining in North America, so the building has a unique and treasured history. Along with a large and varied book collection, the library has quiet nooks where library members can read, an art gallery and even a music room where you can listen to old LPs. The Institute Library has also become a hot spot in town for special events, including author talks, performances, a sock hot, poetry readings and other cultural gatherings.
Lately, Avi’s job has been to catalog the mystery section of the library. He calls for a ride from Lyft to get from his apartment at Chapel Haven to the job downtown. He’s made friends with the staff, is eager to do a good job and is a whiz with computer-based entry skills.
“Because of Avi’s professional training, and his ability to focus on cataloging, his productivity has exceeded all expectations,” said Patricia Thurston, Catalog Librarian and the head of the Institute Library. “He is the most productive cataloger in the library. Thanks to Avi, library members are better able to see what books are in the collection, and the library is better able to track which books are checked out to members.”
Avi’s point staff, Sue Snowden, said the position is perfect for Avi. “My goal was for Avi to become more enmeshed in the community and to find like-minded folks,” she said. “They’ve all been so welcoming here to Avi.”
Avi and his Chapel Haven advisor, Sue Snowden, have enjoyed getting to know the nooks and crannies of this historic library and Avi has attended some of the library’s events. Congrats to Avi, we are proud of you!
To learn more about Chapel Haven and our Center for Employment Services and Opportunities, call (203) 397-1714, ext. 148.