MLA Featured Library Employee — John Greene

Meet our newest Featured Library Employee for the Missouri Library Association, John Greene!

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

My name is John E. Greene. I’m employed by Mid-Continent Public Library District covering 32+ branch locations throughout Jackson, Clay, and Platte Counties. I coordinate the grounds and landscape for the facilities department proposing, contracting, and outsourcing maintenance programs and projects.

What originally got you interested in working at a library?

Service to my community is what originally got me interested in working at a library, and I’ve always been drawn to the outdoors, so it’s a good combination. As a kid growing up, I spent most of spare time in the public parks near my house. One park encompassed a living history museum and a library. I had free access to it every day and the programs there were inclusive. I’ll never forget it.

What keeps you coming back every day?

The art, the science, and the social aspects keep me coming back every day. It is an opportunity to implement beautification that is environmentally sustainable and complimentary to wildlife, pollinators, and people. These aspects encompass the promotion of indigenous plant varieties, water conservation, public outreach, as well as other variables.

What’s challenging about your work?

Weeds and weather are two of my biggest challenges. During the growing season, weeds are trying to outcompete selected landscape plants for space, sunlight, water, and nutrients. We pull them by hand and add a mulch layer each year to buffer the soil. It’s hard work.

The weather changes daily, so we are always having to readjust our maintenance schedules to get the best possible outcomes. Timing is everything. I coordinate snow removal in the winter, also, and it’s important to be proactive and reactive at the same time which can be challenging.

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

I’m awestruck by the prospective of another person’s interpretation and knowledge of the landscape. The public often sees it as very welcoming, and so do I. I like that. It can be very therapeutic.

Who is one of your mentors?

My personal mentor is my Mom. She grew up the daughter of a Missouri sharecropper and only one of eleven siblings to graduate from high school. She has set an example of how to overcome adversity through resiliency, determination, and resolve by improving her life and ours. My sisters and I are first-generation college graduates who struggled with a reading disability most of our early lives. Mom did her best to recruit tutors, enroll us in special reading programs, and even, introduce us to the local library, where we found it accessible and open to our needs. Our reading eventually improved, but we, too, had to persevere. I give her credit, still today, for her courage and fortitude to push us forward.

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’ve been engaged this week by, Gold Dust Woman: A Biography of Stevie Nicks, 2017, the audio book about an American girl from the southwest who somewhat, single-handedly, took a fledging British blues band, Fleetwood Mac, to the pinnacle of rock music. Her poetic lyrics, vocal sound, and style of a free spirit, a special force, that only she can bring to the stage.

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

I’m married to my wife, Tina. We enjoy traveling and kayaking, along with our dog, Colt.


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!