Calling All Experienced Public Librarians: Want To Be A Mentor?

The Public Libraries Community of Interest (PLCI) is looking for experienced public library employees who are interested in mentoring new librarians. This is a great opportunity to share your knowledge and give back to the library community.  Eligible mentors must be members of the Missouri Library Association and have at least 5 years of library experience, with at least 3 years in their current field.  Mentors must work or have worked in a public library and must be able to commit to at least one meeting per month for up to a year with their mentee.  Meetings can be held via phone, e-mail, or in person.

Anyone who is interested in being a mentor is encouraged to fill out a mentoring sign-up sheet.

Interested mentors should submit their forms by May 31st.

To find out more about the Public Libraries Community of Interest mentoring program, please visit the PLCI Mentoring Program informational page on the MLA website.

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  My favorite part is seeing a shy or withdrawn child become more comfortable and start openly enjoying all of the wonders of the library.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!

Submit Your Presentation Proposal for the 2018 MLA Conference

MLA is now accepting program proposals for 2018 Conference – Stronger Together: Diversity of Libraries and Diversity in Libraries.  Submissions will be accepted until Wednesday, April 11th, and can include breakout sessions, table talks, poster sessions, pre-conferences, and networking events.
Please use this submission site.

This is a great opportunity to share with your fellow library folks in Missouri! Others may find new and fascinating something that seems commonplace for you. Showcase an event or program your library is doing, illustrate a problem your institution faced and how you solved it, do a genre presentation, talk about your favorite technology for particular library tasks, highlight the awesome leadership training program you attended…the possibilities are endless!

Questions? Send them to

Register now for the March 23 MACRL Workshop!

March 23, 2018

MACRL Webinar & Workshop

University of Missouri – Ellis Library

Fighting Fake News with the ACRL Framework



Schedule of Events:

  • Library Tour: Meet in 159 Ellis Library, University of Missouri, Columbia, MO 10:00-11:00 AM
  • Collaborative Lunch at a local restaurant, 11:00-12:30 PM
  • Webinar, 12:30-1:30 PM
  • Discussion, 1:30 3:00 PM

RSVP by March 16:
Cost: FREE!  Parking available with RSVP

Thusnelda Schmidt Scholarship Winner Announced

In February, the Youth Services Community of Interest announced the 2018 recipient of the Thusnelda Schmidt Scholarship, Samantha Dozier!  Samantha is the Youth Librarian at the Weber Road Branch of St. Louis County Library.  The Youth Services Community of Interest is pleased to fund Samantha’s attendance at YALSA’s 2018 Young Adult Symposium.

As a Youth Librarian with St. Louis County Library Samantha serves hundreds of children, teens and their families/caregivers every month within her building. She also serves around 500 children in schools and daycare centers. She runs a variety of programs for all age groups, including baby story times, preschool art, story time for children with autism and their families, and home school students.  She has been involved in special programs, like summer and after school meals to children who visit the library, Earn-A-Bike Workshop, and Computer Coding Workshops. She has started a TAB program at her branch to involve teens in the library and provides passive programs and activities almost daily to the large number of teens who visit the library after school.

Samantha is planning on attending the YALSA 2018 Young Adult Symposium. She has increased programming to teens at her location, but sees a need for more support for this age group at her branch. She hopes to expand her knowledge in this area and learn new strategies for creating meaningful programs that will engage the teens, keep them coming back, and improve their behavior while at the library. She is passionate about working with this age group and is excited to be able to better serve and support the teens at her branch.

The Selection Committee wishes to thank all of our applicants and applauds the inspiring work you do on behalf of Missouri’s youth!

Thanks also to this year’s Selection Committee– Amy Held, Kristy Toplikar, Megan Durham, and Christy Schink.

Shelley Bretsnyder
Youth Services Community of Interest (YSCI) 2018 Past Chair

Missouri Library Advocacy Day Now March 13, National Library Legislative Day May 7-8

state capitol building - image from Missouri Digital Heritage Collection,

Missouri Library Advocacy Day is now March 13. The schedule and agenda are the same as announced previously. Please contact Gerald Books, Chair of the Legislative Action Committee, with any questions.



Speaking of library advocacy:  Registration is open to join the Missouri delegation to attend National Library Legislative Day in Washington DC May 7-8. If you cannot attend in person, register for Virtual National Library Legislative Day, and get the talking points to make you an effective advocate.

Advocacy Day POSTPONED


Due to severe weather forecast throughout the state, members of the Executive Board and of the Legislative Committee have decided to postpone Advocacy Day 2018. Watch for the new date by email, on the website and on MLA social media.


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