Log In

Reset Password

Snapshot: Jon Barker



Text Size

Occupation: I am the Information Technology Librarian at C.H. Booth Library. I maintain everything from the public computers and the various devices and services that the patrons use to all of the infrastructure here in the library itself, that keeps us running — our Internet, our databases, and our server system. Essentially, anything that has a cord or a signal is my domain. About one-third of my time is also working on the Reference Desk, assisting patrons with any general inquiries they may have. We also do a Digital Navigators program, which is essentially a one-on-one prescheduled meeting with someone where they can come in with their computer, their phone, a camera, and get one-on-one tech assistance. It’s been very successful, yet for every one person we help there are ten more who don’t even know we do this.

Family: I’m originally from West Virginia. My mom, Tammy Iden, is a graphic designer at a Charleston (W.V.) area medical center, and my dad, Tim Barker, is a river boat captain. My mom is where I get my technical prowess from. I grew up in the golden age where computers were becoming commonplace, but still niche and a little underground at the same time. My mom had one of the first iMacs. I got familiar with the “Wild West” of the Internet, learned how to open programs, how to find your files and things, because it wasn’t nearly as simple as it is today.

I also have a brother, Trey Iden, who is seven years my junior. He just graduated college with his psychology degree. I have two gray cats, sisters, named Kismet and Zen.

How long have you lived or worked in Newtown? I actually live in Southbury. I moved here last July, from West Virginia. I was pretty happy with my job, but several years ago I got the chance to come to New England, for a conference in Rhode Island, and I really, really liked it. Connecticut is obviously really different from Rhode Island, but it’s still exactly what I wanted. When I started at this library it was the trifecta: I got to work reference, I got to be in IT, and I got to be in New England. I started at the library on July 5, 2022.

Who or what has been the greatest influence on your life? At the risk of sounding cliché, it would be my mom. I still confide in my mom, regularly. She’s my confidant. I talk to her about major life decisions, she’s helped me through difficult times, she’s been there for me in good times. She had an influence on the music I listened to as I was growing up. She is the reason I am as proficient with IT, as I mentioned before. Without question, she’s had the biggest influence on my life. I still make a point of talking with her at least a few times each week.

Who is your favorite musical artist? If I had to pick just one, King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard. They’re such an eclectic band. One album they’ll release and it’ll be metal, and the next album will be chill low-fi beats, and then another will be regular progressive rock. It’s impressive that they manage to have such a distinctive sound. I can identify their music, but they are in so many different genres, it’s hard not to be a fan of them.

What is something you cannot live without? (laughs) If you ask anyone who watches me walk around here, I constantly have these wireless earbuds in my ears. I try not to when I’m talking to patrons, of course, but any other time I’m listening to music or a podcast. I just need that stimulation that helps me focus, to do routine tasks.

What is your favorite travel destination? My family owns a beach house in Murrells Inlet, in Myrtle Beach, S.C. When I lived in Chapel Hill I would go there, when I lived in West Virginia I would make trips there, and I still go there. It’s just a regular, comfortable place to go. There’s nothing quite like the solitude of walking along the beach, listening to the waves, and maybe listening to an audio book.

What is your favorite part about Newtown? Honestly, my favorite part about Newtown is that it has this historical, small-town feel. One of the things I initially liked about it is that there are very few drive-throughs. It manages to have the small-town, very community-owned feel. It doesn’t have a bunch of franchises. There’s the general store, and the Sandy Hook Diner. What I really like is it feels quaint, and small, while being a significantly established place. It feels very traditional in a romantic way.

Jon Barker —Bee Photo, Hicks
Comments are open. Be civil.

Leave a Reply