Joyce Burk: Much more than books
Joyce Burk, retired branch manager of the Barstow Branch Library, is a native Californian. Her father was born in Pasadena, and she was born in nearby Alhambra. She was the oldest of three children and during her junior high and high school years, she learned that all school districts do not afford their students the same level of education.
Burk said she feels fortunate to have her parents finally settle in Covina, where the schools are excellent, and where her mother still lives.
Burk had a number of school teachers who she respected, and it was most likely because of her admiration of them that she went on to college and earned a lifetime teaching credential.
When she moved to Barstow with her husband Peter in 1972, Burk decided to try something a bit different and worked as a part-time library assistant on the Barstow Bookmobile. That allowed her to learn a good deal about all of the Mojave Desert communities.
She and Peter have both grown to love the Mojave Desert. Burk lost her job here in Barstow in 1979 when Bookmobile services were canceled, and she went to work as a Victorville Library Reference Library Assistant. She went back to graduate school in 1992 and earned a Master Degree in Library and Information Science. Soon afterwards, she was able to achieve her lifelong dream of becoming the librarian of her home town in 2003. She worked as branch manager here for 6.5 years and retired from San Bernardino County in June 2009.
Q: Why did you move to Barstow?
A: My husband, Peter, was offered a position in 1972 to serve as a San Bernardino County employee. We had only been married for four years, and we decided that Barstow would be a good home town for us.
Q: What is your
A: My passion is for education and good health. As a librarian, I have told many residents that the Library is every man's school. As Ben Franklin realized early on, free public libraries can do much to educate our citizenry. I like the clean air and wide open spaces that Barstow living affords.
Q: Any hobbies?
A: I love to read mystery and romance novels. I like to use deductive reasoning to try to solve each case alongside the detective.
Q: Describe a special memory you have of Barstow.
A: I have especially enjoyed working with the Kiwanis Club of Barstow as their long-time treasurer. Many Barstow residents don't know that this club, which was founded in 1926, puts on the annual Mardi Gras Parade. This year will be our 80th Parade, and this parade is the second longest running parade in the United States. It gives me a great sense of pride to help put on this event each October.
Q: Tell us one thing that most people don't know about you.
A: Most people know I am a long time vegetarian, but many don't know that I do so for religious reasons. I'm a member of the Order of the Cross that was founded in England by Reverend John Todd Ferrier in 1904. All its members are pacifists and vegetarians.
Q: What are the top three issues facing the Barstow, and what's your take on them?
A: One of the issues facing Barstow is quality of life, including resources for cultural growth. My husband and I will soon face the issue of deciding where to retire. We would like to belong to groups that will further our life-long learning. We don't find too much to keep us here in Barstow.
Another issue facing Barstow is good health care. It concerns me greatly that I need to travel down to the San Bernardino Valley to find hospitals that will satisfactorily supply my health needs. My insurance company has told me that they do not want me using our local hospital. I find the best doctors down near Loma Linda University.
My final issue is the amount of trash that I see blowing around the streets of Barstow. If we all did our part and put waste in adjacent trash bins, I know we would have a more beautified community.
Q: What person, living or from history, would you most like to have dinner with and why? What would you ask them?
A: I would like to have a vegetarian meal with Jesus Christ. I would ask him how best to embody love in a fallen world.
Q: Tell us about your faith.
A: The spiritual aims and ideals that I try to embody are: The Order has for its service in life the cultivation of the Spirit of Love towards all Souls; helping the weak and defending the defenseless and oppressed; abstaining from hurting the creatures, eschewing bloodshed and flesh-eating, and living on the pure foods so abundantly provided by nature; and walking in the Mystic Way of Life, whose Path leads to the realization of the Christhood.
Q: Tell us about one place you would love to visit and why.
A: I love visiting the heavens for its angelic atmospheres. I find them best when I go on retreat once a year at La Casa de Maria in Santa Barbara.
Q: Where do you get your values from?
A: My values were well instilled in me by my father, mother, and grandmother who spent much time with me. I still remember my father's words of advice to be well educated and know how to earn a living. He thought all women should be able to take care of their own needs rather than being dependent on a husband.
Q: What's your favorite movie and why?
A: My favorite movie is "Defending Your Life." It came out in 1991 and its excellent actors (Albert Brooks and Meryl Streep) illustrate in afterlife courtroom scenes how they have demonstrated courage.
Q: Tell us about your favorite thing about Barstow.
A: My favorite thing about Barstow is the number of friends I have made in Kiwanis, Friends of the Library, and Delta Kappa Gamma who are all trying to make Barstow a better place to live for its residents.
Q: What is the ultimate issue facing the United States, and what's your take on it?
A: The ultimate issue facing the United States is to how to lead the world spiritually. We all have a lot to learn.
Q: What is the best thing about your job?
A: I loved being the branch manager of the Barstow Branch Library and seeing all the use it receives from its residents. It does my heart good to see a family come out of the Library with a good stack of books in their arms. I also appreciated all the community support I received when I worked to achieve our Smarten Up the Barstow Library goal of raising $35,000 to remodel the Library.
Q: What is your secret to living a happy, satisfying life?
A: My secret to a happy, satisfying life is finding the light, life and love of the Divine Father Mother.
Q: What's your favorite guilty pleasure?
A: My favorite guilty pleasure is eating a small piece of dark chocolate.
Q: Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
A: I hope to be traveling with my husband who will then be retired. There are still many sites I would like to visit around the world.
Q: Is there anything else you'd like to say, anything you'd like to get off your chest?
A: Thanks for giving me this opportunity to speak to the Barstow community.
Q: How can readers get a hold of you?