40 Under 40 Class of 2018

Caitlin Kelley

Branch Supervisor, Springfield City Library; Age 30; Education: BA, Hampshire College; MLS, Simmons College

Caitlin Kelley

Caitlin Kelley

Born and raised in Massachusetts, Kelley initially pursued librarianship, thinking she could read all day. Not the case! After stints at Northeastern University’s Snell Library and the Nantucket Atheneum, she landed at Springfield’s Mason Square branch in 2013. Since then, she’s had the good fortune to collaborate with community members, nonprofits, and local librarians on a variety of projects, from setting up community gardens, health programming, and legal clinics to job-training programs, kids’ art classes, and jazz festivals. She lives in Easthampton with her partner, Nick Borges, and enjoys puttering around their vegetable garden.

What did you want to be when you grew up? For a long time, I wanted to be an architect or interior designer, which probably explains why my boyfriend and I often spend our weekends demoing and renovating parts of the house.

How do you define success? One part of me likes to see positive, quantitative outputs that demonstrate the effectiveness of the library’s services and programs. On a personal level, though, success feels most palpable when it takes the form of a life touched — a participant in one of our job-seeker workshops landing a job in their field of choice or a kiddo telling me, excitedly, how the forget-me-not seeds they got at the library started to germinate in a pot on their windowsill.

What do you like most about Western Massachusetts? I appreciate the sense of community here and the loveliness of the landscape — I’m always struck by the view of the valley from Mt. Tom when I drive home.

Who has been your best mentor, and why? My mother, Ann Marie Rocheleau, taught me to really care about people. She’s a criminologist and a professor, and I’ve always admired the way she sees people as a whole and treats them accordingly. She encourages me to do the best work that I can and to accept and meet the challenges that come my way. “It is what it is,” she always says. And she’s a wonderful listener.

What person, past or present, would you like to have lunch with, and why? Oscar Wilde, hands down. Such a mind and a wit. I’d love to hear his perspective on the wild world we live in today.

Photography by Leah Martin Photography