Friday, May 4, 2012

Alumna Jenny Ellis Directs Small Town Library

Jenny Ellis (BA, English-Literature, `04) was awarded a Masters of Library Science (MLS) from University of Missouri in 2009 and has been director of a small, rural library in Albany, Missouri.

Jenny confesses, "I never would have thought I’d be a library director. I had always thought I’d just be a department head of a big city library It’s interesting going from a larger library system (St. Joseph Public Library-where I was only an assistant) to a single library with a small budget and being in charge. It’s interesting making all of the decisions. I have a support system of friends who are or have been directors; and there’s a networking group of directors that meet up quarterly as well as a statewide group of library directors that meet up twice a year for a conference."

One perk included in directing a small town library is that comes with housing. "A couple donated a building located down the street from the library. It’s a storefront with an apartment above it. The weekend after the job offer the board president invited me to town for a town tour (He joked it was a 17.3 minute tour including construction detours) and a tour of the apartment. It’s HUGE. The only downfall is as one of the board members described it “it’s a penthouse with no elevator”. There are a lot of stairs leading up to it. They don’t really bother me except when I have groceries. The downstairs of the building is our Friends of the Library bookstore."

"I do a little bit of everything with this job. I’m responsible for finances, facility maintenance, personnel, grant writing, community relations and collection development/maintenance. I work the desk a lot (we’re open 37 hours and I only have 25 hours of part time workers)."

Drop by the Albany, MO library for a visit: browse a book, work the front desk, or maybe even help sweep up a bit!

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