Posted in Library Journey

New Year, New Website

I’m starting 2019 with a fresh new blog and website, and I’m excited to get back in to sharing about my library life! I’ve migrated all my old content, and I’m hoping to share more about my adventures in Cataloging and Collection Development and all my other side gigs. But first, I thought I’d take a minute to reflect on some highlights from 2018:

2018-Leslie-B-Knope-Award-high-res-connectionsELGL’s Leslie B. Knope Best Public Library Competition
A great start to the year, the Lawrence Public Library was nominated for the Engaging Local Government Leaders (ELGL) Leslie B. Knope Best Public Library Award in January. In a bracket style competition that lasted through March, we made it to the Final Four, but were eliminated in our pairing against the Pueblo City-County Library who went on to win the award. What was just as good as, if not better, than winning, though, was all the amazing, supportive comments from the community that were submitted as part of the competition.

Circulating Board Game Collection
After months long planning and exploring a “Library of Things” at LPL, we launched a pilot collection of circulating board games in March. I shared about the concerns we had about the collection, but things have gone very well so far and we’ve only had a handful come back missing parts or damaged (and just two that haven’t come back at all). I still hear comments from patrons who love that they can checkout games.

Librarian Problems in Peoria, Illinois
In early October, I was invited to share my Librarian Problems presentation for the afternoon keynote at the Peoria Public Library staff in-service. Before I spoke, I got to enjoy lunch with the staff and learn about their system. It’d been about a year since I’d done a keynote, so I was a bit nervous, but I got a lot of laughs and had a great time. It reminded me of how much I enjoy speaking and connecting with librarians all over.

KLA/MPLA Joint Conference
This year, I got involved with the Kansas Library Association’s publicity committee and have been helping manage the Facebook and Twitter accounts. A major focus was the joint conference with the Mountain Plains Public Library Association in October. In addition to taking photos and sharing updates for KLA, I ran a user group session for others who oversee their library’s social media pages. After attending several informative sessions and networking with other Kansas librarians, I felt like it was one of the most valuable conference experiences I’ve had.

Chris Traeger List
Finally, in December, I was honored to learn someone had nominated me for ELGL’s Chris Traeger List, which recognizes 100 top influences in local government. I am 100% certain that this is literally the nicest thing that’s happened to me. I promise I won’t let it get to my head, but it’s nice to know I’m making a noticeable difference in the community, and it’s only served to remind me of how much I love my job and being a librarian.

Posted in Library Director, Library Journey, Oskaloosa Public Library

5 years ago yesterday to 2 years ago today

Every so often I tend to reflect on my library journey on this blog — especially when I’m making a big change or recognizing a work anniversary. Yesterday marked five years since I began as Director of the Oskaloosa Public Library, and today marked two years since I left that position to move back to Lawrence. I remember how nervous and excited I was my first day at OPL — meeting the staff, touring the building, learning the ropes, still wondering if I was really director material. It wasn’t until a few weeks in, after the first staff meeting when my administrative assistant said to me that it was one of the most productive meetings they’ve had in a number of years that I felt confident that I could actually do the job.

And what a beautiful library! Originally built in 1903, the Carnegie building was expanded in 1997 to twice its size. The architects designed the expansion with brick and woodwork that matched the original building. High ceilings, ornate wood columns, a glorious grandfather clock, a reading garden, and a director’s office to die for!

I like to describe my experience in Oskaloosa as the Goldilocks of library directorships. The library wasn’t so large that I was too bogged down with administrative work to be able to do “librarian” things like work the reference desk, select and order materials, put together displays, and teach computer classes. And it wasn’t so small that I wouldn’t have had the resources to plan some of the fun programming and events that we did.From managing staff to working with the board of trustees and city council to overseeing the maintenance of the building and grounds, I was challenged with new responsibilities and situations that only helped me grow. My absolute favorite part of the job was planning events like Teen Tech Week, summer reading programs, a one community, one book program called Mahaska Readszombie crawls, and a presentation on prohibition paired with a beer tasting.


Looking back now, it almost seems like a dream. As time goes on, I know the three years will just be a blip on my library career, but they had a major impact. Though I’m happy and thrilled to be back in Lawrence, I do miss the staff at OPL, the patrons that I got to know, and the beautiful library. I will always appreciate the experience and opportunity I got there.