Interview with SCPL Children's Assistant Naomi Pickens

May 6, 2020
Interview with SCPL Children's Assistant Naomi Pickens

For more information on what services are available during the library closure, click here:

I’d love to begin with you introducing yourself, your background, and your work.

Hello, my name is Naomi Pickens and I am the Children’s Assistant for the Spartanburg County Public Libraries, Headquarters Branch. I’ve worked at SCPL for 8 ½ years as a Tween assistant and a Children’s assistant. Currently, I plan and lead all programming and outreach services for children ages 10-12. 

In the wake of COVID-19, the Spartanburg County Public Library cancelled all events and programs through July. What resources are still available for children and families during the library closure?  

During the library’s closure, all our e-books and e-audiobooks are available to download through our overdrive and hoopla library services. Also, our website has online resources that are available for children and their families 24/7. Lastly, most of our branch locations have Wi-Fi available from the parking lots which is available for our patrons to use during this time. 

The Spartanburg County Public Library has a long history of pioneering programming that encourages families to spend time together. What activity recommendations do you have for families sheltering at home, specifically low-income families? 

For families who have access to the internet, there are many websites that have a list of live events families can watch from home. One website is KidLit TV. For parents who are looking for a Storytime for their little ones, there are websites such as and Also if families are looking for daily activities to do with their little ones, has a calendar full of fun activities for each day. 

Families can also participate in indoor activities such as scavenger hunts, baking, singing a song together, or working on a science or craft project. For outdoor activities, families can take a walk around their yard or participate in an outdoor scavenger hunt while practicing social distancing.  

I’m interested in discussions of both loss and gain. Personally, and professionally, what has been the hardest to lose at this time? What have you been offered that surprised you? 

Personally, I miss the freedom of physically spending time with my friends and family. Although it is not the same, I am thankful that I can connect with my family virtually through Zoom or Facetime. I have also noticed the outpouring of love and support shown by many people in the community. One service I was offered that surprised me was the option of deferring my car payment up to two months.

Professionally, I miss providing a physical library service to families that visit the library. On a positive note, I am thankful for the time to work on future library projects.  

What, in this unprecedented time, is functioning as a balm for you? 

Prayer, and the support of my family and friends.

What advice do you have for parents who don’t know how to talk to their children about COVID-19?

This is a stressful time for many families and at times like these it can be hard to talk about COVID-19 to children. To help there are many online resources for parents. Author Dan Santat has put together a fun online program for children to ease anxiety by learning about terminology surrounding this pandemic. After a child has completed each program, they receive a badge. There is also a cute video on YouTube entitled “Time to come in, Bear. This video talks about social distancing in a kid-friendly way.


Naomi Pickens is a small-town native from Pendleton, South Carolina. She graduated from Pendleton High School and received her B.A. in Studio Art with a concentration in Art Education from Converse College. Currently, she works as a Children’s Assistant for the Headquarters’ Branch of the Spartanburg County Public Libraries.

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