MLA Featured Library Employee — Kelsey Fitzgerald

Meet our most recent Featured Library Employee for the Missouri Library Association, Kelsey Fitzgerald!

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

Kelsey Fitzgerald, Ozark Regional Library, Youth Librarian

  • What originally got you interested in working at a library?

My interest in libraries was piqued as a child.  I couldn’t believe that there were entire buildings devoted to books.  As I grew older, I realized all that libraries have to offer.  I worked for a summer in my university library at Baylor University and that was when the wheels really started turning about making this a career.  I wanted to combine my love of books, education, volunteerism, and children and the perfect way to do that was to become a youth librarian.

  • What keeps you coming back every day?

The families in the communities I serve keep me coming back every day.  It is an amazing feeling when I see a child’s face light up while reading a book or participating in one of my programs.  My favorite part is seeing a shy or withdrawn child become more comfortable and start openly enjoying all of the wonders of the library.  The library is an amazing place for families to connect with others for entertainment, education, and support.

Another aspect of my job that keeps me coming back is the people that I work with at Ozark Regional Library and our shared desire to support the small, rural communities in which we live.  The library is a staple of the community and we want to offer the very best resources possible.  Combined with their desire to serve, my co-workers are kind, dedicated, and always good for a laugh.

  • What’s challenging about your work?

One of the biggest challenges I face is getting children and their families into the library.  Ozark Regional Library has four branches in small, rural communities and it is my responsibility to bring children and teen programs to all of them.  Transportation and time are the biggest obstacles in getting families through the library doors.  To help combat this, my co-workers and I offer programs in the local schools and daycares, and at community events.  Our library has developed strong collaborations with community groups, schools, extension offices, media and more to ensure that we reach as many people in our community as possible.

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

My work has made me passionate about collection development.  My Library Director, Holly Martin Huffman, strives to have a collection of the very best materials and resources that will foster knowledge, imagination, and growth.  I am thrilled that I share some of the responsibility in developing the collections for children and teens.

My passion for collection development led to an amazing opportunity for me to serve on the Missouri Association of School Librarian’s Truman Readers Award Committee.  My participation on this committee has exposed me to hundreds of books for students in grades 6-8 and has introduced me to astounding school librarians that I may not have had the opportunity to work with otherwise.   If you’re not familiar with MASL’s Readers Award lists, I recommend checking them out because a great deal of hard work and dedication goes into making those lists by school librarians, public librarians, and students.

  • Who is one of your mentors?

I have been blessed to have worked with extraordinary people in all of the libraries in which I have served.  The staff at Smith Public Library in Wylie, Texas, where I held my first youth department position, helped me get a strong start in this career.  One particular individual that helped me get out of my comfort zone is Jennifer Ilardi, Youth Librarian at St. Louis County Library-Florissant Valley.  I had the pleasure of working alongside her for the better part of a year and I loved how she challenged me and how her passion for youth services was contagious.

  • 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.

With my involvement in the MASL Truman Committee, I don’t have much time for TV, but I do read at least two books a week.  However, I don’t want to give any hints as to what might end up on that list, so I’ll just say that there have been some really good books published recently.

Personally, the book that keeps me constantly engaged is the Bible.  I read it every day and believe it is the best book ever written.  The Bible offers encouragement, courage, guidance, and truth.

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

Never underestimate the effect that libraries and library staff can have on a person’s life, especially the life of a child.


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  We’ll do all the work of contacting; we just need you to connect us!

MLA Featured Library Employee — Debbie Luchenbill

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!


Would you like to nominate someone to be our next Featured Library Employee on the MLA website and in a future issue of MO Info? Submit name(s) and contact information (preferably email), along with place of employment, to Shannon Mawhiney at

Kellie Willis Awarded 2017 Bohley Scholarship

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.

Cindy Thompson

Chair, PEER CI

Julie Jackson wins Show Me Youth Services Award

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!

2016 Building Block Winner announced

Bear contest logoThe 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

Congratulations, Dr. Jerome Offord!

JeromeOffordCongratulations to Dr. Jerome Offord, who is the first president of the new Joint Council of Librarians of Color (JCLC)!

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.

Congratulations to the Ferguson Municipal Public Library!

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.

ALA Resolution Ferguson Page1

ALA Resolution Ferguson Page1
ALA Resolution Ferguson Page1

Full Document: Resolution ALA