Person of the Week: Adam Cleri

You may have seen him participating in a salsa lesson or when you were checking out a book at Plumb Memorial Library. Part-time library assistant Adam Cleri said he believes his job at the library was meant for him and he loves having the opportunity to find new ways to get the community involved.

About four and a half years ago I had applied to just about every business in Shelton but hadn’t heard anything back, so I said, I have to do something, and thought I’d volunteer at the library,” said Cleri. “Two years later they essentially handed me a part-time job, and I realized that doesn’t happen so I took the job and I’m here now.”

Between handling his normal circulation desk duties and implementing new, child-friendly activities at Plumb, Cleri said, he has gained a new appreciation for working with kids. He attributed some of his passion for working with youth to being an older brother and being a camp counselor in the past.

“I worked as a camp counselor for first-year campers for three years when I was in high school,” said Cleri. “I take any chance I can get to work with people younger than me very seriously, partly because of my experience with the campers and also because I’ve been doing it my whole life as an older brother. When my sister or brother have a question, I never put it off, and I apply that same mentality to when I’m working with kids here at the library.”

More than your typical library assistant

Cleri said he’s had a passion for writing since he wrote his first novel back in sixth grade. Now studying to obtain his master’s degree in library science, Cleri has just finished writing, acting in, and directing his first play. He said it was a great learning experience in which he grew as a writer and learner.

Over the past several months, hours on hours of Cleri’s time have been directed toward Plumb’s fifth annual murder mystery play, Minds, Murder, Magic.

In the play, Cleri played a patient undergoing therapy. Although the play was aimed to be a lighthearted comedy, Cleri said, he felt obligated to address some of the stigmas attached to the topic of mental health.

“I thought it was important to convey that the majority of people who are diagnosed with mental illnesses are normal. They’re not all in straitjackets or crazy in a padded room,” said Cleri.

Minds, Murder, Magic was an audience-interactive experience that allowed the crowd to participate and ask questions of the cast in order to solve a murder case that was acted out throughout the play.

“Directing was partly just to make my writing come to life for the first time, but the more I became involved the more I was driven by the teens being in a play that had never acted before. We all learned together and put our all into making this play a success,” said Cleri.

After completing what he called a “successful showcase,” Cleri said, he is open-minded in terms of working on future plays and other endeavors that will use his passion for writing.

With a knack for picking up new skills, Cleri said, he will continue to put forth his maximum effort in everything he does.

“I give my all in everything I do because I’m not sure what’s going to be my legacy. I don’t know if people will remember me as Adam the librarian, Adam the writer, Adam the actor, so I have to make sure I give them all my all. If you’re not giving your all, then what’s the point?” said Cleri.

Moving forward

Cleri said no matter where his career takes him, he plans to always stay true to his deep Shelton roots.

“I’ve lived in Shelton since I was 4 … I will most likely accept the first job I am offered when I graduate, but in the end I want to make my way back to Shelton to continue to give back to the community,” said Cleri. “The decision has been very intuition-based. Since the library gave me the feeling of being important as well as the chance of being involved in the community, I’ve become attached. Shelton is my city and always will be.”