Meet our most recent Featured Library Employee for the Missouri Library Association, Debbie Luchenbill!
- What is your name, your library, and your role at the library?
Debbie Luchenbill, MOBIUS, Evergreen Coordinator
- What originally got you interested in working at a library?
I had a work-study job in circulation at a public library in the Boston area one summer when I was in graduate school and really, really enjoyed it. A few years later, when I was figuring out where to go from my job in admissions there, I realized that working in libraries met all of what I was looking for: someplace where I could help people and connect them with information or other things they needed, where I could continue learning, and where it was a good thing to be a generalist.
While my initial focus in libraries was on public libraries and especially youth/teen services and readers’ advisory (still interests of mine!), my interest in leadership and administration led me on a more non-traditional library path, to working with the National History Day program at the State Historical Society of Missouri and now at MOBIUS.
- What keeps you coming back every day?
The people! I have fantastic coworkers at MOBIUS and my favorite part of what I do involves my interactions with the staff at the Missouri Evergreen libraries – especially when I get to visit them in-person for training. Different from a traditional library setting, my “patrons” are the staff members of all the libraries with which we work. It is a joy to be a part of helping the libraries be able to better serve their communities!
MOBIUS also recently launched its new MOSS service (MOBIUS Open Source Solutions) where we are expanding our Evergreen hosting and managing services outside Missouri, and it is very exciting to be a part of a new service from the ground-up!
- What’s challenging about your work?
I love that every day is different, though that also brings its own challenges–my plans for the days are often derailed! That’s certainly not unique to my particular work, but is always a challenge. It’s also just an exciting time right now, as Missouri Evergreen continues to grow and as we launch MOSS, because there are so many details to keep track of and nurture, and because we work with people with all different skill levels and different levels of comfort/familiarity with technology. It’s a challenge, in a good way, to explore and figure out the best ways to communicate and to convey information to people.
- Has your work made you either curious, or passionate, or awestruck about something?
My work with the Evergreen ILS has made me passionate about library open-source software and the open-source community. It wasn’t something I was familiar with at all before beginning this work. The people involved in the Evergreen project are fantastic – programmers and librarians alike – and are really focused on making a high-quality product that meets the needs of the end users in the libraries (staff and patrons). Because everyone who uses the software is a part of that community, and because there is not a company that owns the software, it’s very dynamic, flexible, and customizable. For instance, changes/enhancements that the Missouri Evergreen libraries request and that my colleague, Blake Graham-Henderson, programs, gets contributed back to the larger community, so that everyone in the world who uses Evergreen benefits from the changes Missouri Evergreen requested. And we benefit in the same way from developments other Evergreen libraries make. It’s wonderful to be a part of that kind of global community. The Evergreen community is also very focused on the things librarians are passionate about, like protecting patron privacy, equitable and easy access, and doing the best to meet the needs of our patrons.
- Who is one of your mentors?
I have been lucky to have had many wonderful mentors, both inside and outside of LibraryLand. One has been Kaite Mediatore Stover, Director of Readers’ Services at Kansas City Public Library, who encouraged and supported my early interest in readers’ advisory, continues to check in with me at conferences, and has helped me be involved in various capacities in RUSA.
- 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’m in the middle of reading “How to Find Love in a Bookshop” by Veronica Henry. It’s about a bookstore in the Cotswalds and all the interconnected stories of the founder of the store, his daughter who comes to run it when he dies, and various patrons and employees of the shop (and the developer who wants to buy it and tear it down). So far, it’s a lovely, delightful read and I like how the founder’s vision of creating a place for book lovers of all kinds becomes a reality in the little town and how it illustrates the effect that each person can have on those around them.
Also, this week is when the movie, Star Wars: The Last Jedi comes out, and I am so excited! I can’t wait to see how the storylines of all the characters progress. It’s great to see old friends from the original movies and I love the newer characters we were introduced to in The Force Awakens!
- Is there anything else you’d like to share with us?
I’ve loved all the connections I’ve made to library workers all over the state and nation both through my work and by being involved in MLA and ALA. It’s so inspiring to learn from and catch up with what people are doing and passionate about. Keep up the great work!
The Professionalism, Education, Employment, and Recruitment (PEER) Community of Interest is pleased to announce that Kellie Willis (St. Louis Public Library) has been chosen as the 2017 recipient of the Ronald G. Bohley Scholarship.
Kellie Willis is a native of St. Louis, MO and is the Regional Youth Services Specialist at the Carpenter Branch of the St. Louis Public Library. This fall Kellie begins the LIS program at Mizzou where she intends to focus on Library Services to children and their parents. She loves when the kids at her branch call her the “Library Lady”! A proud AmeriCorps alum, Kellie’s interests include the ways that Libraries are actively working for more just communities. #critlib
The Professionalism, Education, Employment, and Recruitment Community of Interest congratulates Kellie on all of her accomplishments and wishes her the best for the future.
Chair, PEER CI
The MLA Youth Services Community of Interest (YSCI) would like to congratulate Julie Jackson, Youth Services Supervisor for St Charles City-County Library, as the 2017 Show Me Youth Services Award recipient.
Julie Jackson has been working in Missouri libraries since January 2003 and got her degree from Mizzou in December 2006. During her time in library services Julie has reached countless lives through her programming and collaboration with others. Currently at St. Charles City County Library she is a driving force behind the “Grow Your Reader” early literacy initiative, she manages the early literacy calendars that patrons look to each month to find daily early literacy activities for their families, and this summer she will pilot a Lunch@the Library food program for neighborhood children in the branch, all in addition to the numerous outreach events she attends and the programs she implements at her branch.
Julie’s coworkers say that she always has a smile on her face and a positive attitude and is always willing to help out wherever it’s needed. She is always there to answer questions and bounce ideas off of. Her dedication and excitement about children’s services in Missouri is infectious.
YSCI is thrilled to offer this award to Julie Jackson and wishes to thank all of our applicants. We applaud the inspiring work you do on behalf of Missouri’s youth!
The children of Missouri have spoken, selecting Bunnies!!! by Kevan Atteberry, as the winner of the 2016 Missouri Building Block Picture Book Award. Over 18,000 preschoolers and kindergartners participated this year, and it’s been a heated battle to the end. In fact, we believe this may have been one of the tightest races in Missouri Building Block Award history! At the final hour, Bunnies!!! snuck past Little Penguin Gets the Hiccups by Tadgh Bentley and Rex Wrecks It! by Ben Clanton.
The Missouri Building Block committee wants to thank all of the teachers, librarians, parents, and caregivers who read to their kids and helped them vote. Your support is what made this such a successful event. For more information about the Missouri Building Block Picture Book Award program, go to our website molib.org/awards/building-block-award.
Dr. Offord is University Librarian, Head of the Department of Library Science, and Assistant Professor at Lincoln University in Jefferson City.
JCLC Inc.’s official purpose statement is: “To promote librarianship within communities of color, support literacy and the preservation of history and cultural heritage, collaborate on common issues, and to host the Joint Conference of Librarians of Color every four to five years.”
For more about JCLC and its member organizations, see the ALA’s press release.
On Tuesday, February 3, 2015, the American Library Association Council approved the attached resolution at their midwinter meeting. Copies of the resolution will be sent to the President of the Missouri Library Association, the Director of the Ferguson Municipal Public Library, the Mayor of Ferguson, the Governor, the Secretary of State, and the State Librarian of Missouri.
Full Document: Resolution ALA