Ines Page: Librarian by Day, Swashbuckler by Night
It sounds like it should be a movie. It has the makings of a summer blockbuster; mild mannered librarian reading stories to kids during the day, wielding a sword and having duels in the evening.
This is the life of Fayetteville’s Ines Page. Ines has been with the Cumberland County Public Library system for more than 10 years. She is originally from El Salvador before she moved to Fayetteville with her husband, John Page.
“I was in the United States for only a short time and I didn’t speak English very well. I thought no one would hire me for a full time position so I started out as a volunteer.”
At the time, she worked in the Circulation Department and was later hired full time, but she always wanted to work with children. When an opportunity opened to work in the children’s department at the Cliffdale Branch, Ines took it and later transferred back to Headquarters Library.
With the children’s department, she’s conducted “Story Time” for every age group, from teenagers to elementary school. Ines notes that there is event a story time for preschoolers and infants.
“I enjoy the storytelling programs and doing the puppet shows. A few years back, we even did a puppet show of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol.”
Over a decade ago, Ines spoke little English, now she enjoys answering questions for children and parents about any particular interest like hobbies, homework, and special interests.
“Kids have very eclectic interests, they’ve asked about dinosaurs, snakes, princesses, unicorns, Pokemon, fairy tales, Captain Underpants, zombies…and of course, fencing.”
Meanwhile, Ines‘ husband, John Page had taken up running after a long hiatus from fencing with New York University. At a 10k race, he met someone who told him about her daughter taking a fencing class.
Ines‘ now found herself accompanying John to the All-American Fencing Academy weekly. At first she just observed the practices and though it was fun and very good exercise. Then John participated in the North American Cup in Atlanta, GA.
“I was very impressed by all the fencers in the women’s tournament. It became my ambition to fence in a tournament of that size.”
Ines started fencing 2-3 times a week; joining the weekly classes with the teens and adults as well as taking private lessons with her husband. One year later she competed in the North Carolina Championships and qualified for the United States Championships in Atlanta, GA in July.
The North Carolina Championships was Ines‘ first major tournament. She admitted there was quite a bit of nervousness.
“I dreamed myself being in a big tournament. I was just happy to be there, but I know now that I want to do it again!”
It’s such a dichotomy for people that know Ines at the Headquarters library. For the person often known as the library lady, the story-telling lady, or the person behind the puppet stage pretending to be one of the three little pigs, the children now say, “You fence, too?”
However, it may even be harder to imagine someone starting a very active sport in their mid-40s. Fencing seems like such a lightning fast sport dominated by teens and young adults. Quite the opposite, many fencers at the All-American Fencing Academy, including Ines, agree that people at almost any age can learn to fence.
Head Coach Gerhard Guevarra says, “We get number of youths in the program, but we have just as many adults, even above the age of 50, taking classes, starting fencing for the first time and fencing recreationally.”
The common reason the coaches at All-American Fencing find why adults start fencing: “I always wanted to try it.”
“I think most people, at almost any age could be able to fence. I started by first observing fencing, and after watching, I though that I could do it and turned out to be very enjoyable.” comments Ines.
“What made it easy was the all the people involved in it were very nice. There was no pressure and you could progress at your own rate.”
“Although I started at a later age, I truly recommend any child to get started in fencing. I wish I had an opportunity to practice an individual sport in El Salvador. A sport like fencing that requires the athlete to think strategically and be athletic is a great foundation for other things in life.”
As a librarian, Ines must also recommend the book Igraine the Brave by Cornelia Funke for children. It’s a book about a girl who is a fencer. It takes place in the time period of knights and castles. For the older youth, Ines recommends classics like The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas.
About the All-American Fencing Academy and Summer Camps
The All-American Fencing Academy is located in Downtown Fayetteville at 207 B Donaldson St. It instructs and trains recreational and competitive fencers from ages 7 to adult. Its fencers compete regionally and nationally. The coaches include former World Cup and NCAA fencers.
The All-American Fencing Academy offers programs in Downtown Fayetteville, as well as after school programs at Fayetteville Academy, Village Christian Academy and Flaming Sword Academy, and through Fort Bragg’s SKIESUnlimited program.
The All-American Fencing Academy is hosting a number of summer camps for youth and teens (ages 7-18)interested in learning fencing.
For more information about the All-American Fencing Academy and summer camps provided, please call 910-644-0137 or visit www.allamericanfencing.com.