Southfield library names Joyce Johnson to board

By: Jacob Herbert | Southfield Sun | Published October 27, 2020

 Joyce Johnson officially became a member of the Southfield Public Library board Oct. 19.

Joyce Johnson officially became a member of the Southfield Public Library board Oct. 19.

Photo provided by Joyce Johnson


SOUTHFIELD — Joyce Johnson was looking forward to retirement. After 22 years teaching at different stops within Southfield Public Schools, Johnson was excited for her time off. Then Southfield Mayor Ken Siver called and everything changed.

Siver wanted to appoint Johnson to the Southfield Public Library board. Her educational background led Siver to believe she would add a different dimension to the library.

“I was in a state of shock,” Johnson said. “I was just minding my own business, enjoying my summer and doing my gardening. For him to call me, it was such an honor. I was just gardening and enjoying my retirement. I didn’t think ahead on projects that I would be doing. I was elated, and I look forward to getting started.”

Johnson, 61, is a Cass Technical High School graduate with a bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan and a masters from Cambridge College in Boston. She has been a Southfield resident for 34 years and taught in Southfield Public Schools for 22 years. Her stops include four years at Kennedy Elementary School, four years at Thompson Middle School, two years at Levey Middle School and 12 years at MacArthur K-8 University Academy.

By her appointment to the board, Johnson accepts a three-year term. The library board is made up of five members who oversee policies, funding, resident oversight and more.

“Membership on the library board is an important role as they are responsible for overseeing a wide range of library services for the entire community, including adults, children, seniors, students and community organizations,” City Council President Dr. Lloyd Crews said in a statement. “Its members also serve as guides for general library policy, rules and regulations, and make recommendations regarding the overall management.”

It’s clear that public libraries hold a special place in Johnson’s heart. As a teacher, Johnson encouraged every one of her students to obtain a library card and go to the library at least once a week.

She encouraged the parents of her students to schedule time for their kids to read at least 20 minutes per day and to check out as many books as possible. She asked the parents to engage in conversation with their kids about what they’re reading and to enroll the kids in the Southfield Public Library Summer Reading Program.

“I can’t really explain it, but there’s a feeling when you enter a library and you go there to research or explore,” Johnson said. “You go there to satisfy the interests that you have. In addition to it, there’s something about turning pages in a book versus scrolling online. There’s something about the smell of the print on the pages and something about just seeing people who are thirsty for knowledge.”

Siver said there were no dissenting opinions to his appointment of Johnson from City Council. The two had crossed paths several times while Johnson was teaching and now that she was finished from the teaching obligation, Siver knew she would be perfect for the job.

“She’s a longtime resident,” Siver said. “The fact that she’s a recent retiree from teaching, she has time, which is always important. Obviously, the educational background is important. I thought she would be a great fit, and the council agreed.”