MLA Featured Library Employee — Peter Neely

Peter Neely, Columbia College

Meet this issue’s Featured Library Employee for the Missouri Library Association, Peter Neely!

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

My name is Peter Neely. I work at Columbia College as the Digital Services Librarian.

What originally got you interested in working at a library?

My interest began when I eventually realized at a young age that libraries provided a chance to engage with my community and share new or unfamiliar methods of acquiring information – and that was too appealing to resist.

What keeps you coming back every day?

Mostly the students, so many are passionate and eager to find that perfect article or are seeking to educate themselves outside of the classroom, it’s hard not to admire their diligence!

What’s challenging about your work?

Working with vendors is honestly the most challenging aspect of my job at the moment.

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

My work has made me realize how important communication is in any field. It’s important to be clear and transparent to your patrons!

Who is one of your mentors?

This is a hard one to answer. I was particularly close to my grandfather, he taught me patience and compassion while showing what you create and put into the world is more important than what you take from it.

 

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 — Geri Godber

Geri Godber

Meet our Featured Library Employee for the Missouri Library Association, Geri Godber!

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

Geri B. Godber; Christian County Library (today is my last day); Executive Director

What originally got you interested in working at a library?

I have a degree in Chemistry, but in my senior year of college I realized I did not like working in the lab. I loved the theory of chemistry, but not the application. I heard about being a Scientific Librarian – doing the literature research for the folks in the lab and that was my goal. However, life took me down the public library road and I have not looked back.

What keeps you coming back every day?

My staff. They are wonderful…plus, knowing we are here to help people.

What’s challenging about your work?

Keeping all the fires stoked, but not allowing anything to boil over! It has been a crazy year with COVID and managing two construction projects. By April, CCL will have four branches in the county! We are very excited to have 4 beautiful libraries for the people of Christian County.

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

I would say helping veterans, seniors, and individuals with mental illness. They need us most.

Who is one of your mentors?

Without a doubt, Jim Schmidt of Springfield-Greene County Library. He is the best.

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.

Well, I am moving to Oregon so my time this past month has been quite engaged with watching/ listening to old seasons of The Great British Bake Off or Ink Masters while I sort through and pack all of my belongings. I have a soft spot for the United Kingdom, baking, and tattoos.

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

I have accepted a position in Oregon as the Library Director for Tillamook County Library System. My time at CCL has been great with the support of past and present employees, the Board of Trustees, and the support of the folks of Christian County. However, I was widowed a few years ago and it is time for a fresh start. I am from Missouri so it will always be home, but I am looking forward to some new stars in the sky and living on the coast. Thank you to my MLA colleagues, my staff, and Trustees. It has been a great time in MO, but onward I must go!

 

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 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!

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!

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!

MLA Featured Library Employee — Liz Prewitt

Liz Prewitt

Meet our most recent Featured Library Employee for the Missouri Library Association, Liz Prewitt!

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

I’m Liz and I work at the lovely Prairie Commons Branch. I’m shocked I was nominated because I am just a clerk. Someone once told me to never say you are “just” something. So with that being said, I am a clerk at the library!

What originally got you interested in working at a library?

I’ve been going to Prairie Commons with my mom since I was a baby. However, I wasn’t that kid who loved reading. I did however, love books. I loved the art on all of them. I was drawn to how cozy and quiet the library is. So when I was in high school and decided to apply for my first job, I thought, what could be better than the library! The summer I turned 18, I started working here. Fast forward 13 years later and I’m still surrounded by all these beautiful books.

What’s challenging about your work?

Working at the library has a lot of great perks. First of all, I have worked and work with some incredible people. It makes me the happiest when I can find that book a parent can’t wait to show their child or when I got to go to school assemblies for Summer Reading Club. It’s so sweet when a child runs up afterwards telling the YS and I how much they read and they got a joke for us. I remember this one little boy who always came in the library and I would just help him find material or give him a library sticker and one time he told his grown up that I was the coolest person here. Stuff like that makes my day. Lastly, I am really blessed that I get to work at a place where I can use my artistic skills. I have made some really fun interactive displays for all ages. I like to be able to make the library look welcoming and fun for all. I want books to stay cool!

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

I have grown up at the library. When I started here I was just 18 and naive about a lot. I still can be at times. I think the past few years especially I have been awestruck just to see all the programs we offer and materials we offer now. Like, want to see the moon? We have a telescope you can check out. Have a child with sensory needs? We have a sensory storytime. I am just so proud of the workers here who make so many things possible for everyone. I think we really impact some people’s lives in such a great way and that’s what makes me passionate about my job.

Who is one of your mentors?

I feel like thinking of a mentor is always a hard question. For instance, my go to answer would be my mom. But so many people have shaped the way I have grown in my life. I have had and have some incredible bosses and co-workers that have shaped me and taught me so much. Whether it was to help me through hard situations, show me how to have thicker skin, helped me artistically, or just remind me that I got this! With that being said, I have to mention my 4 nieces. They are my little mentors that remind me to always just live in the moment and all the bad things will pass.

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 day I was at a bookstore and came across the book, Notes to Myself, by Hugh Prather. It just explores his daily life thoughts and really hit so many parts of my heart. Anyway, St Louis County Library didn’t have any of his other books. But now that we have access to Mobius, I requested many of his other works from various libraries all over. I am super excited for them to come in. If you want to sit by the window this winter and sip a drink while getting into your feelings about life, this is the book.

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

I feel really humbled and honored that I was nominated for this. I love my library and I hope you come out to Prairie Commons and come see some of our unique, crafty displays and grab some materials while your here!

 

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 — Kelli Hansen

Kelli Hansen

Meet this issue’s Featured Library Employee for the Missouri Library Association, Kelli Hansen!

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

My name is Kelli Hansen, and I am in Special Collections at the University of Missouri Libraries

What originally got you interested in working at a library?

As an M.A. student in art history, I worked on an exhibition collaboration between the Libraries and the Museum of Art and Archaeology at MU. I was fascinated with Special Collections and decided to change my career track from museums to libraries after I finished my first master’s degree. I went to UT Austin to get my MSIS, and am happy that I got to come back to Columbia to work in the Libraries here.

What’s challenging about your work?

A large part of my work is instruction, and I teach across a wide range of subject areas. One morning I might lead a class on graphic novels, only to turn around and teach medieval manuscripts in the afternoon. I sometimes get to help put together course sessions on topics I know very little about, so research plays a big role as well. I learn new things at work all the time.

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

I’m constantly awestruck by the materials we hold in Special Collections, and connecting those materials with students and researchers is my passion. I love those moments when students say, “I can actually touch this?” and I get to say “Yes! This is yours to use and appreciate! Make the most of it!”

 

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 — Ginger Allard

Ginger Allard

Meet our most recent Featured Library Employee for the Missouri Library Association, Ginger Allard!

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

Ginger S. Allard
Missouri State University Libraries (Duane G. Meyer Library)
Cataloging Associate

What originally got you interested in working at a library?

As a junior in high school attending a rare Zuni Movie Theatre (New Mexico) outing, I watched Vivien Leigh (Scarlett O’Hara) slap Leslie Howard (Ashley Wilkes) in the most beautiful library that I’ve ever seen and I fell in love with Cecil B. DeMille’s technicolor fanciful libraries of the era and thus wished to work in a library.  Also from a very early age, I was fascinated with my parent’s ornate Family Bible (KJV) that my mother would read to our family on Sunday.  My favorites as a tiny child that my mother read to we siblings were various Little Golden Books, The Little Red Hen, and a Forest animals book that I’ve never been able to find the title since but avidly remember the pictures and tiny library in a tree ensconced in that lovely children’s read.  My mother often took us to the fanciful Ernie Pyle House Library down the street from where we lived in Albuquerque, New Mexico from 1953 to 1968.  I loved the typical children’s novels of the 1950’s particularly those heroes and heroines of Ancient Egypt, Greece, and Rome, but also mysteries and fantasy places.   The Ernie Pyle House/Library is a historic house at 900 Girard Boulevard, SE in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Built in 1940, it was the home of famed war correspondent Ernie Pyle from then until his untimely death in 1945 during World War II. It now serves as a branch of the Albuquerque Bernalillo County Library, containing Pyle memorabilia and a monument to Pyle. It was designated a National Historic Landmark in 2006.

Given the arrival of Forbidden Planet, Space Rangers, Martian Chronicles, Star Trek, Star Wars, and J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Fellowship of the Ring, etc., the science fiction world made an impression on me and there was a fascination with the futuristic library and what it would entail with physical books.

What keeps you coming back every day?

The opportunity to come across a superb read or quote in an unlikely book.

What’s challenging about your work?

Creating the proper subject and genre headings for books or theses.  Losing the physical book environment and the loss of those items that could have at least been scanned and placed into the cloud library.

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

Yes I have always thought of creating an illustrated only coffee table book with pictures of fanciful libraries in TV shows and commercials, movies, Broadway plays, etc.  (i.e. Perry Mason, Star Trek, Bewitched, Harry Potter, etc.) complete with physical books of their genre.   (Of course coffee table books along with coffee tables are hard to find except in museums these days)

Who is one of your mentors?

Head Cataloger, Marilyn McCroskey   Marilyn’s work ethic is fantastic and I’ve always admired her commitment to the Libraries and the art of reading along with the Cataloging field.

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.

Music/Dancing: YouTube:  I love to watch the best of America’s, Britain’s and other countries’ Got Talent and listen to various one-time artists give it their best and many times it’s a one-time experience not to be missed.  Very emotional!

In a future Virtual and Augmented Reality Lab (VARL) environment:  Just for fun, if I would enjoy viewing simultaneously the brilliant historical performances of Michael Flatley from Lord of the Dance and Feet of Flames fame and Stavros Flatley and son (The father/son Greek Riverdance duo) who performed on Britain’s Got Talent (2009).  Studying Irish dancing vs British-Greek Cypriot dancing would be quite enlightening and mesmerizing in a visualization studio environment.

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

I’m an avid glimpser of The Most Beautiful Libraries in the World websites updated annually.  Of course I’m particularly in awe of the memorably ornate and fanciful libraries with unique histories and inside/outside wow architectural designs.    (i.e. Abbey Library of Saint Gall in St. Gallen, Switzerland and Admont Abbey Library, Admont, Austria)

 

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!