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Matt Layne

Customer Experience Manager, IT Department

I started my life on a farm in Wicksburg, Alabama (between Newton and Pinckard), and then moved to Dothan, Alabama at the start of first grade. There was a swamp literally across the street from my house. My friends and I spent our daylight hours traipsing around in the mucky muck and marching across fallen rotting trees. I learned a lot in those woods including how to avoid water moccasins, how to leap out of the way of a rattlesnake, and to take off my mud-caked shoes before going into my house. The rest of my education has mainly been in classrooms including Mountain Brook High School, UAB, and the University of Alabama where I received my Master’s in Library and Information Science.  

I’ve been writing stories and poems since I first discovered my mom’s iron grey typewriter she used for typing her college papers. It weighed 50 pounds and looked like a battleship. I try to encourage our young adults to explore different types of writers, and I love bringing in authors to teach creative writing workshops with our teens. In my personal creative life, I’m currently compiling a poetry manuscript and working on some children’s books.  

I rely heavily upon our amazing Teen Advisory Board for program ideas. Some of my favorites that we’ve done over the years: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Student Debt – a financial literacy and an introduction to living on one’s own after high school, Gatsby’s Ball – a collaboration with some of our high school history and English teachers to throw a swinging 20s style party replete with live music, Water Balloon War – a full-out throw-fest of thousands upon thousands of water balloons on the lawn across the street from the library, Library Lock-ins – where members of the Teen Advisory Board spend the night in the library and all sorts of hi-jinx ensue. Early on in my library career, I was asked to play Harry Potter, but I fear I’m all Dumbledore now (okay, I might still be able to pull off a slightly more distinguished Gilderoy Lockhart).  

Why teen programming, you may ask? Our young people are creative and exciting and essential. I love helping to make their brilliant ideas come to fruition in the form of library programs, and in the midst of all the fabulous fun programming we do at the library, there is always an educational aspect that gives our young people the tools they need to make a better future for themselves and for all of us.