Antonio Forte (also known as Tony) began working at Greenburgh Public Library in October 2018. He first began as a circulation clerk and from his interview we knew he was interested in becoming a librarian. Tony is now half-way finished with his Master’s in Library Science and has since become a Library Assistant for Teen Services. Tony did not always work in libraries. He has spent the last 20 years in Emergency Services, his last position as a Fire Marshal for Stamford Ct.
I began paging at the Yonkers library when I was in high school. I was not a big reader but my brothers both worked at the library and I just followed in their footsteps. After paging for a while I started seeing material that interested me; books like The Hobbit, music by Miles Davis and Jim Croce and it started to open up my world. I tried all these new things and it opened up my eyes to other areas of interest while I was working there.
Where are your brothers now?
One is a lawyer and the other is in finance. I became a Fireman. School wasn’t for me, so I joined the EMT service and worked in Yonkers, Pelham, Mount Vernon and the Bronx. Seeing what I saw everyday was a huge culture shock. I wanted the excitement, but I also realized what an important job I was doing. I enjoyed it so much I went further and became a fireman. From there I rose up the ranks and eventually became a Fire Marshal, a detective for fire origin and arson investigation.
Why Libraries again?
I knew I didn’t want to continue forever in the fire department due to demands on my time and personal life. After my time as a page I continued to be a good library patron and thought this may be a good fit as a second career. I enjoy what I am doing, keep regular hours, love the environment and really like being among people who are open minded. I am still helping people, but in a whole new way. It has been a journey of self-discovery that started 25 years ago as a page.
What do you enjoy most about the library?
Gaming is one of my favorite aspects of the library. It was surprising to me that gaming was a part of programming here at a public library. But I can see why; there is a whole social aspect of gaming, playing by the rules, critical thinking, team mentality the value of teamwork that is so important when learning how to get along. Gaming creates a perfect opportunity for all ages to come together in a safe environment. Right now I play a lot of games with my own kids, Pokemon trading cards, X-box and console-based games. But I did learn how to play Magic the Gathering from the teens at the library. They are serious “Planes Walkers” and they are in the library every other Tuesday night for some serious game time.
What are you currently reading?
The Legend of Drizzt by R. A. Salvatore. I am a Fantasy reader with two of my favorite authors being J.R.R. Tolkien and Jim Butcher. Fantasy is a great escape from the everyday things going on. I have seen enough, especially while working in emergency services. Working in a library is a wonderful change of pace.