MLA Featured Library Employees — Mid-Continent Public Library’s HR Team

Mid-Continent Public Library HR Team

Meet our Featured Library Employees for the Missouri Library Association, the Mid-Continent Public Library’s HR Team!

What is your name, your library, and your role at the library?

Jennifer Ridley, HR Director

Dionne Wheeler, Associate HR Director

Rochelle Farmer, HR Specialist

Courtney Meyer, Employment Specialist

Talishia Robins, Leave and Accommodation Specialist

Bonnie Witt, Wellness Coordinator

What originally got you interested in working at a library?

Bonnie – It’s a funny story how I started working for the library. A friend called me out of the blue and said that she knew of a Wellness Coordinator position that would be a great fit. Honestly, I wasn’t even looking for a job at the time. Turns out that she had been offered the position and turned it down to take a school nurse job. She recommended me and I was hired. So, I guess I was the 2nd choice, but I think I landed right where I was supposed to. That was nearly nine years ago. I am still amazed by the people I work with, both closely and at branches via email (now it’s all via Teams and email). There’s a level of caring here that I’ve not seen at other places. At the end of the day, I really like the people I work with!

Jennifer – My siblings and I like to joke that libraries are our “family business.”  My brother is a public librarian and my sister has been a public and school librarian.  I started at MCPL in Interlibrary Loan in 2003 and an opportunity came up the following year to use my HR experience at the library.  I couldn’t pass it up even though I had no idea where it would lead.

What keeps you coming back every day?

Talishia – Firstly, I work with an amazing team of HR professionals who are some of the most dedicated, committed, and knowledgeable people I have ever worked with. It is extremely refreshing to work with people who have similar work missions and drive and who deeply care to do the right thing for our staff. Though we have designated specialties and different personalities, we truly work as a cohesive unit.  Secondly, working for an organization that genuinely supports its staff and knowing the Senior Leadership Team actively exhibits that effort daily…it starts from the top, down. I am grateful to have found this organization and to be able to contribute a small part to that process.

Courtney – Organizations can’t run and thrive without the people that get up and come to work each day. So, having a chance to change these people’s life by offering them a job or knowing the feeling they must have when they find out they were just promoted is what keeps me coming back each day. Knowing that I have the chance, through our people to make MCPL the best library system in North America is a great feeling!

What’s challenging about your work?

Dionne – One of the biggest challenges we have in our department is balancing all the things we “want” to do with those things we “must” do. We talk about capacity a lot amongst our team, and we have so many great ideas, but carving out the time to plan and execute our ideas is a challenge.

Rochelle – Each employee’s path at MCPL is different, and we want each experience to be a positive one. Whether it’s making sure a new employee receives great training and feels included, communicating to a mid-career employee additional benefits they may not have needed previously, or helping a long-tenured employee move through the steps of retirement, any given day can present unique challenges. Being prepared for this requires staying on top of changing guidance and guidelines to represent and protect the interests of MCPL employees.

Has your work made you either curious, or passionate, or awestruck about something?

Dionne –  I am awestruck by how much the people I work with who are purpose- driven. It gives me great satisfaction to work around people whose values aren’t tied to money and material things. I think it has made me a better person.

Courtney – Working in HR for larger organizations has made me more passionate about streamlining communication and engagement of employees. When you have a diverse workforce, you must diversify your communication and engagement styles to meet individual needs, which can prove challenging. At the library we have multiple generations and people from all backgrounds working alongside each other, we also have people working multiple shifts throughout the day and different levels of the organization getting the same message. In HR a lot of our messages need to get to each person in our organization, and we have to ensure everyone understands. So, finding and creating new innovative ways to communicate and keep our employees engaged in their work is something I am very passionate about.

Who is one of your mentors?

Dionne – I know this sounds corny, but my mother has been my greatest mentor my entire life. The best parts of me come from my mom.

Jennifer – Don Bridgforth, our retired HR Director, invited me to have a seat at the table at every opportunity and let me soak up everything I could.  He always treated me like a collaborator rather than a subordinate.  And, we always found a way to laugh even when things were bleak.  I think about how valuable that camaraderie was when I am leading this team.

What book, author, artist, show, or music are you engaging with this week, either personally or professionally? Persuade us in one or two sentences that we should pick this up, too.

Bonnie – I’ve been listening to Christmas music on the radio, even with all the advertisement interruptions. Growing up, my Mother had all of the Firestone Christmas record albums and she played them all season long. These were the classic songs by Julie Andrews, Barbara Streisand, Andy Williams, and others. So every few songs, I hear one of those classics and I’m happily transported back to a magical holiday time in my life. Those memories come back clearly; the smells, sounds, tastes and the feelings. Music is good for our souls.

Rochelle – Check out Joe Rogan’s podcast. He is a smart and well-read guy who can talk to you about anything from MMA to aliens. He often features guests who are controversial in mainstream media, offering them a platform to dive deep into a variety of topics.

Jennifer – 2020 was redeemed by the triumphant return of Allie Brosh with “Solutions and Other Problems” which I recommend to anyone with mental illness who also embraces silliness to carve a way through the struggle.  Also, I just finished watching “Fleabag” and “Killing Eve.”  I became an instant fan of Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s cleverness and dark humor.

Is there anything else you’d like to share with us?

Dionne – I tell people all the time that I love my job, and I mean it. It is easy for me to show up every day, and not everyone can say that.

Jennifer – We hear every day that 2020 has been a rough year for all of us, and that includes librarians and the people who support them.   I am grateful to be on this unbelievable team of pros who have spent every day of this year working on improving the harmony between work and life for all MCPL team members.  It has not been easy for anyone, but we are driven by witnessing the important and innovative work of the MCPL team in the communities we serve.

 

Would you like to nominate someone to be our next Featured Library Employee?  Examples could be:

…a new employee you’d like to introduce

…someone with a unique job or on a unique career path

…an employee you find inspirational

…a coworker whose gifts you wish were more widely known

…someone who’s “an institution” full of interesting stories

…a role that has a new focus or is reaching a new audience

…someone you’d like to make more visible to potential employers

Submit name(s) and contact information, along with place of employment, to Shannon Mawhiney at smawhiney@missouristate.edu.  We’ll do all the work of contacting; we just need you to connect us!

MLA Featured Library Employee — Tracie Gieselman-France

Meet our Featured Library Employee for the Missouri Library Association, Tracie Gieselman-France!

What is your name, your library, and your role at the library?

Tracie Gieselman-France, Duane G. Meyer Library at Missouri State University, Archivist

What originally got you interested in working at a library?

I have always loved libraries and reading books (you’d be jealous of all the ice cream cones and personal pizzas I “won” for reading books as a child!) but I hadn’t really thought about working at a library. I originally visited the MSU Archives as a researcher the same semester I was completing an internship at our local history museum and quickly realized that I enjoyed working with archival materials. I jumped at the chance to apply for a position as the Archives Specialist when it became available and have always felt it was pure luck that the Archives are a part of the library on our campus!

What keeps you coming back every day?

It is a combination of my colleagues and the community, the collections, and our researchers. Every day is different and I learn something new every day from my own research, or by assisting a patron. My colleagues and the community are equally important, as we often work together to create exhibits or suggest resources to our researchers, and the collaborations extend out to other libraries and cultural heritage institutions in our region.

What’s challenging about your work?

I think it is important to be creative with how we present research and archival materials to the community and that can be a challenge. COVID has certainly accelerated the need for creative content and different ways to deliver content to our patrons.

Has your work made you either curious, or passionate, or awestruck about something?

I’m passionate about sharing the treasures found in archival materials with our researchers, whether they are college aged, elementary students, or seasoned authors.

I also feel very rewarded when a student experiences the magic of carefully turning the pages of a rare book!

What book, author, artist, show, or music are you engaging with this week, either personally or professionally? Persuade us in one or two sentences that we should pick this up, too.

Professionally, I have been reading through Ozarks Folklore from authors such as Vance Randolph and Fern Nance Shumate/Nancy Nance. Always interesting and entertaining, especially since I am working with a collection related to both authors!

Personal consumption: We watched it a few weeks back, but I definitely recommend watching The Social Dilemma. This is a documentary on Netflix about social media and how it influences society.

I also look at a lot of cookbooks since we are eating at home more often. I have my own collection and look at a lot of websites, but I encourage everyone to check out the cookbooks at your local library too!

For inspiration, I’ve been reading The Artist’s Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity by Julia Cameron. I haven’t committed to the exercises yet, but I like the techniques!

 

Would you like to nominate someone to be our next Featured Library Employee?  Examples could be:

…a new employee you’d like to introduce

…someone with a unique job or on a unique career path

…an employee you find inspirational

…a coworker whose gifts you wish were more widely known

…someone who’s “an institution” full of interesting stories

…a role that has a new focus or is reaching a new audience

…someone you’d like to make more visible to potential employers

Submit name(s) and contact information, along with place of employment, to Shannon Mawhiney at smawhiney@missouristate.edu.  We’ll do all the work of contacting; we just need you to connect us!

Together Apart: MLA 2020 Virtual Symposium

Greetings MLA Membership!  We are just a few short weeks away from the inaugural Missouri Library Association Virtual Symposium: Together Apart!   The full schedule is now available, with the full program coming soon!

I am extremely excited about the speaker line-up for the event.  Sessions and topics were recruited for their diverse appeal to all types of library workers, with breakout discussion at the end of the day for affinity groups.

Together Apart: MLA 2020 Symposium, Monday, September 28th Keynote Speaker Announced

Healing Trauma & Creating the Beloved Community

Ingrid Cockhren, M.Ed. specializes in co-creating equitable and inclusive environments within institutions, organizations, collective impacts and grassroot movements.  Utilizing her knowledge of stress, trauma, and human development, Mrs. Cockhren has been able to translate research concerning diversity/equity/inclusion (DEI) and trauma-informed practices into workplace and organizational solutions that can transform culture and heal.

Mrs. Cockhren graduated from Tennessee State University with a B.S. in Psychology and Vanderbilt University’s Peabody College with a M.Ed. in Child Studies.  Her research areas are Adverse Childhood Experiences, race, historical trauma/intergenerational transmission, brain development, developmental psychology and epigenetics.  Mrs. Cockhren’s past career experience ranges from juvenile justice, family counseling, early childhood education, professional development & training and community education.  In addition to consulting, she is currently an adjunct professor specializing in developmental psychology and African American psychology at Tennessee State University and the TN/Midwest Regional Community Facilitator for ACEs Connection, a social network dedicated to raising awareness of adverse childhood experiences, stress & trauma.

Mrs. Cockhren’s clients and affiliates include ACEs Connection, the Mental Health Cooperative, Thistle Farms, Inc., Metro Nashville’s Public Schools, Meharry Medical College, Tennessee State University Foundation, Tennessee’s Dept. of Children’s Services, Tennessee’s Office of Child Safety, Vanderbilt Medical Center, Raphah Institute, Indiana Youth Institute, Indiana University and Tuskegee University among others.

Ingrid Cockhren is a Clarksville, TN native who currently resides in Nashville, TN with husband Jurnell Cockhren, founder of Civic Hacker, a software development consulting agency.

https://peabody.vanderbilt.edu/alumni/success-stories/story/ingrid-cockhren

 

 

Together Apart: MLA 2020 Symposium, Friday, October 2nd Keynote Speaker Announced


Missouri Library Association Virtual Symposium:
Together Apart – 9/28, 9/30 and 10/02

“We Got This: Surviving and Thriving
in a Deeply Weird World”

Keynote Speaker Peter Bromberg
for Friday, October 2nd focusing on
Leadership and Organizational Development
Register here for full symposium, $25 for members and
$50 for non members:

http://molib.org/conference/2020-mla-annual-conference/

 

Peter Bromberg has served as the Executive Director of the Salt Lake City Public Library in Salt Lake City, Utah since September 2016. In his first year he was able to pass a 23.3% budget increase, creating $1.5 million in new funding for long-term facilities maintenance, while also eliminating all late fees. As a Board Member of EveryLibrary, the first and only national organization dedicated to building voter support for libraries, Peter provides pro bono training and consulting to libraries running ballot measures.

Over his 28 year career, Peter has held numerous leadership roles in regional, state, and national associations, including helping to create and launch ALA’s Emerging Leaders program in 2007, and co-creating and delivering a statewide leadership institute for the Oklahoma Library Association. Peter has written and presented widely on the topics of influence, mindfulness, emotional intelligence, improv, customer experience, and service design. As a personal coach and as a consultant he enjoys helping people and organizations release their potential by making intentional, healthy, and effective choices. Peter can be found online at PeterBromberg.com.

 

Together Apart: MLA 2020 Symposium, Wednesday, September 30th Keynote Speaker Announced

We are so pleased to announce Ayyoub Ajmi, Associate Director of the Leon E. Bloch Law Library at the University of Missouri – Kansas City School of Law, as our keynote speaker for the Wednesday 9/30 portion of our Together Apart Virtual Symposium with the theme of Connecting with Technology.  Ayyoub Ajmi’s keynote, “Stop Chasing the Hype and Connect with Your Community” will focus on using the technologies we already have to connect with our users and our community.

Register for the full symposium here:  http://molib.org/conference/2020-mla-annual-conference/.  Just $25 for MLA members and $50 for non members for three full days of professional development!

Together Apart: MLA 2020 Symposium

September 28 10:30 am – 4:00 pm
Connecting with our Communities

September 30 10:30 am – 4:00 pm
Connecting with Technology

October 2 10:30 am – 4:00 pm
Leadership and Organizational Development

www.ayyoubajmi.com

Ayyoub Ajmi serves as the Associate Director of the Leon E. Bloch Law Library at the University of Missouri – Kansas City School of Law where he works closely with the director to oversee the library to ensure its support of the pedagogical, research, and service goals. Ayyoub is a strong advocate of leveraging open and inclusive technologies to support access to justice initiatives. Among the projects Ayyoub champions is the embedded Self-Help Legal Clinic which provides free limited scope legal representation to over 700 litigants every year. In 2020, the clinic was recognized by the AALL for outstanding achievement in public relations activities (Excellence in Community Engagement Award). During the Coronavirus Pandemic, Ayyoub successfully moved the entire operation of the clinic to the cloud allowing hundreds of litigants to access legal help despite the lockdown.

From 2013 to 2018, Ayyoub served as the Digital Communications and Learning Initiatives Librarian at UMKC law. During his tenure, he led the implementation of several innovative projects such as an open source intranet, an electronic payment and event management system, and a video streaming platform. Before joining UMKC, Ayyoub served as Library Technology Manager at Tarrant County Community College in Fort Worth, TX where he initiated numerous projects among them a digital exhibition platforms made out of repurposed laptops.

Before moving to the U.S., Ayyoub worked on various technology companies in his home country Morocco. As a freelance web designer, Ayyoub pioneered several online community platforms promoting culture and democracy. Among the projects that received numerous accolades were Selwane TV, the first online video news platform and Settatbladi.org a portal dedicated to Folk Music.

Ayyoub received his M.S. in Library and Information Science from the University of North Texas in Denton and a B.A. in Communication Technologies from the University of Texas at Arlington. He is currently enrolled in a Juris Doctor Program at the University of Missouri – Kansas City School of Law on part-time basis with a target graduation date for 2021.

Ayyoub’s areas of expertise include emerging education technologies, open source web development, and legal tech. Ayyoub speaks regularly on these topics at national and regional conferences. His personal interests focus on the intersection of law and technology to advance access to justice and to promote privacy and online data protection.

MLA Featured Library Employee — Kat Wright

Kat Wright

Meet our Featured Library Employee for the Missouri Library Association, Kat Wright!

What is your name, your library, and your role at the library?

My name is Kat Wright and I am the Assistant Manager at the Smithville Branch of the Mid-Continent Public Library.

What originally got you interested in working at a library?

My love of books and reading spurred me to study English in college. When my children were little, I would bring them to Storytime at the Library. I really enjoyed the atmosphere and the connection the library made with the families and the community. Storytime was a lot of fun for everyone with great books, music, and activities for kids to enjoy. I knew it was the place for me!  I was able to find a position working as a Storytime librarian and loved every minute of it!

What keeps you coming back every day?

The wide range of customers we see and the great co-workers I get to work with! Libraries make an impact in so many areas of the community, that keeps the job interesting and fun. It is so rewarding to make connections with individuals and groups and see how those partnerships develop into projects that make an impact in the community. Seeing how each staff member has a niche and connects with various groups and customers is really inspiring to me.

What’s challenging about your work?

I was promoted last year to Assistant Manager and moved to the Smithville Branch from the Parkville Branch. Learning about a new community and a new job can be challenging and fun. I miss working with the little kids and families at storytime but learning new skills for my position has been exciting. Being as flexible as possible and open to change has been important, especially as we have been working through the pandemic.

Has your work made you either curious, or passionate, or awestruck about something?

I think my passion for Early Literacy has continued to grow over the years. I have seen the important role that libraries play in providing materials and programs for young children and their families. Libraries can often be a bridge to literacy for families by providing them with a social space to experience books and music. I have had many parents tell me that they don’t have the first idea of how to help their children learn to read.  But after coming to storytime events they begin to get more comfortable with Early Literacy and their confidence inspires them to be great teachers to their children. These experiences inspire me to try and find unique ways to promote other services to the broader community and find ways to reach the people who need our services the most.

Who is one of your mentors?

My current mentor is probably my boss, Stacey Franklin. She has been very supportive of me in my new role, while being honest with me about my strengths and weaknesses. Stacey has helped me to embrace new technologies as well as evaluate every aspect of my job. Her kindness and sense of humor has helped me get through many different situations. We have worked together since last August and I have learned so much from her!

What book, author, artist, show, or music are you engaging with this week, either personally or professionally? Persuade us in one or two sentences that we should pick this up, too.

I am currently reading Barkskins by Annie Proulx. Spanning 300 years, it tells the story of the settlers of New France in 1693 and the treacherous mysteries that occur when French and English trappers live alongside the Iroquois and attempt dominate the land. It’s also a National Geographic miniseries.

Is there anything else you’d like to share with us?

I am taking my final class this summer to complete my MLIS from the University of Missouri. I am so excited to be finishing this goal and look forward to focusing on my family and career in the coming months!

 

Would you like to nominate someone to be our next Featured Library Employee?  Examples could be:

…a new employee you’d like to introduce

…someone with a unique job or on a unique career path

…an employee you find inspirational

…a coworker whose gifts you wish were more widely known

…someone who’s “an institution” full of interesting stories

…a role that has a new focus or is reaching a new audience

…someone you’d like to make more visible to potential employers

Submit name(s) and contact information, along with place of employment, to Shannon Mawhiney at smawhiney@missouristate.edu.  We’ll do all the work of contacting; we just need you to connect us!

A Message for our Membership on Black Lives Matter

Greetings Membership,

The Missouri Library Association stands with library workers, with library users, and with members of the communities we serve and support who are susceptible to acts of prejudice, threats of violence, and discrimination based solely on their race or ethnicity. The pervasive racism present in our nation denies its residents equal rights and equal access and as such is a barrier to the goals of this association and to everything that libraries stand for. 

Often, we hear that libraries should be neutral organizations, that taking a stand is not appropriate.  There is no neutral here.  Hatred, violence, prejudice, or exclusion of people because of their appearance is not a political argument; there are no sides to this debate.  Freedom from oppression is a human right.   Representation is important.

I am proud of Missouri Libraries as we serve our communities through these difficult times.  The anti-racist actions of the last few days are commendable. We are providing resources, creating booklists, providing safe spaces, and supporting those who depend on us. I urge all MO libraries to curate book lists and provide resources for those who wish to educate themselves.  Let us stand together and support those who need it most.

Cynthia Dudenhoffer
Missouri Library Association President, 2020
#blacklivesmatter #blackstoriesmatter

MLA Featured Library Employee — Katherine Glenn

Katherine Glenn

Meet our Featured Library Employee for the Missouri Library Association, Katherine Glenn!

What is your name, your library, and your role at the library?

My name is Katherine, I am the Training and Professional Development Coordinator for the Mid-America Library Alliance.

What originally got you interested in working at a library?

I can’t remember a time when going to the library hasn’t been part of my routine. I was nervous to apply at my local library; I was worried working there would change how I felt about a place I loved. My feelings did change, but I somehow grew to love the library even more.

What keeps you coming back every day?

I enjoy the adventures I can go on. I travel and get to meet new people while exploring the different library systems MALA serves.

What’s challenging about your work?

I no longer work in a public library; my role is to support the library community. The most challenging part of my job is ensuring I am providing relevant workshops for library staff and professionals.

Has your work made you either curious, or passionate, or awestruck about something?

I have always been passionate about libraries and serving my patrons. This position has created a new passion for me and that is supporting library staff and professionals. I want to provide tools that make their jobs easier.

Who is one of your mentors?

I have been fortunate enough to have had several great mentors throughout my library career; one I would like to highlight is my current director Mickey Coalwell. I am thankful for his continued guidance and support as we rebuild MALA’s training and professional development.

What book, author, artist, show, or music are you engaging with this week, either personally or professionally? Persuade us in one or two sentences that we should pick this up, too.

One of my favorite things to do is read from the banned book list. Right now I am about to reread Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury. The reader gets to experience a world where books are banned, and information is limited. This fantastic read will leave you questioning if you would be strong enough to stand up for what you believe in.

 

Would you like to nominate someone to be our next Featured Library Employee?  Examples could be:

…a new employee you’d like to introduce

…someone with a unique job or on a unique career path

…an employee you find inspirational

…a coworker whose gifts you wish were more widely known

…someone who’s “an institution” full of interesting stories

…a role that has a new focus or is reaching a new audience

…someone you’d like to make more visible to potential employers

Submit name(s) and contact information, along with place of employment, to Shannon Mawhiney at smawhiney@missouristate.edu.  We’ll do all the work of contacting; we just need you to connect us!

MLA Featured Library Employee — Whitney Gerwitz

Whitney Gerwitz

Meet our most recent Featured Library Employee for the Missouri Library Association, Whitney Gerwitz!

What is your name, your library, and your role at the library?

Whitney Gerwitz; St. Charles City-County Library; I am the Government Documents coordinator at the Middendorf-Kredell branch.  I work with the Government Publishing Office to deliver current and relevant government information to the public.  I teach classes on voter registration, how to research candidates and issues for the election, how to search and find Congressional and local bills, decipher fake news, and many other government-related classes.  I love keeping people informed and making sure they have fun while learning!

I also work with another coworker on a series we created in 2017 called Current Conversations where we focus on current and somewhat controversial topics within our community such as racism, immigration, climate change, and prison reform.  We bring in local professionals who are experts within a specific field in order to allow open and honest discussion between members of the community.  After running it for a year, we contributed a chapter to a recent publication, Social Justice and Activism in Libraries, on how other libraries may implement a similar series at their own libraries based on our experiences.  This year, we successfully applied for a grant from the Missouri Humanities Council to help fund the series, so that’s exciting!

What originally got you interested in working at a library?

I actually ended up at the library completely by accident.  I spent most of my college life in a library instead of a sorority house or going to college parties (lame, I know).  After I graduated college, I applied to the library near my house in order to work while I was in grad school, but little did I know that twelve years later, I’d still be here.  When I started working for the library, it was right around the time the recession hit, and I realized how big of an impact the library has within the community.  I never realized the extent to which public libraries go for its patrons and how much of a cornerstone it is to a free society.

What keeps you coming back every day?

Knowing that you are a part of the community and being able to fulfill any need within the community is what keeps me focused on my job.  Being in Government Information, patrons approach me frequently regarding government and social services in hopes that I am able to help them enroll in social security, apply for disability, or help with taxes.  I may not be able to offer direct assistance, but I guide people on where to go and how to get the information they desire.  It also gives me ideas on what our community needs and can help plan programming accordingly, such as Medicare enrollment assistance or legal assistance with a non-profit legal organization, so those people can get help when they need it.  It always amazes me the amount of trust people put in libraries and librarians. They will come to us for any and every need they have.  Maybe I feel flattered that people put so much trust in me and the wonderful people I work with, but it’s a feeling that makes you want to keep coming back.

In light of recent events, it has become even more obvious how important libraries are to the community.  Libraries from all over have been able to come together and adapt to the needs of their community whether it’s offering virtual programs, providing hotspots, using their buildings as emergency distribution centers, utilizing their 3D printers for face shields, and more.  This took us all by surprise but the way libraries and their staff have adapted, it makes me proud to work in this profession.  I look forward to being able to walk back into my building and see what the future holds for libraries.

What’s challenging about your work?

No one day is alike when you work at a library, so there are always different challenges you face whether it’s dealing with the public, staffing issues, or keeping yourself up to date with technology.  I think the biggest challenge, however, is something every library faces and that’s trying to be resourceful while continuing to be creative and captivating when you have limited funding.  While challenging, this can be done!  Government Documents may not be the most exciting topic to some but when you build a photo booth from PVC pipe and equip it with an iPad, you can have people express why certain Amendments are important to them, give them patriotic photo booth props, or have them read famous speeches from history, and it will suddenly spark an interest in that topic.

Has your work made you either curious, or passionate, or awestruck about something?

It has certainly made me more passionate when it comes to information literacy and making sure people receive credible information.  I love that I work in a Special Collection made up of primary sources.  When someone asks me to find a book on a certain topic, specifically something they just heard in the news, there may not be a book published on the topic yet but I can almost guarantee I can find a Government Document on it!  Being able to find documents that are obscure to spark other’s curiosity or documents that are applicable to current events is like Christmas for me.  I love being able to share my passion with others!

Who is one of your mentors?

I have so many influencers in my career and personal life that it is really hard for me to pick a mentor.  I will have to say we have a great and supportive Government Documents group in the St. Louis area that meets a few times a year to see what everyone is doing in their libraries.  They are always available for questions and assistance when you need it and everyone works together so well.  Our regional coordinator at the University of Missouri, Marie Concannon, is such a great advocate for open records and mentor!

What book, author, artist, show, or music are you engaging with this week, either personally or professionally? Persuade us in one or two sentences that we should pick this up, too.

I grew up in the 90s and am starting to feel really nostalgic lately so I have been listening to a lot of 90s music.  This must be how my parents felt in the 90s when they wanted to listen to 60s music all the time.  I don’t know how to persuade you on why you should pick this up, but just that listening to a little grunge and hip hop may make your work day a little better.

 

Would you like to nominate someone to be our next Featured Library Employee?  Examples could be:

…a new employee you’d like to introduce

…someone with a unique job or on a unique career path

…an employee you find inspirational

…a coworker whose gifts you wish were more widely known

…someone who’s “an institution” full of interesting stories

…a role that has a new focus or is reaching a new audience

…someone you’d like to make more visible to potential employers

Submit name(s) and contact information, along with place of employment, to Shannon Mawhiney at smawhiney@missouristate.edu.  We’ll do all the work of contacting; we just need you to connect us!