Touring over 1,600 miles, Christie Clarke arrived in Gering, Nebraska, on the lookout for new alternatives. She had labored in schooling as an elementary instructor within the Carolinas for 15 years, however she was wanting to discover a technique to educate youth outdoors the confines of a classroom.
Then she noticed an commercial within the Star-Herald for a part-time library assistant on the Gering Library. Now 14 years later, Clarke rose by way of the ranks as public companies and youth companies librarian and now serves because the library director, efficient April 1. Whereas her function has modified from partaking with library patrons and youth by way of programming to now facilitating program improvement along with her employees, her deal with serving the neighborhood stays.
“I like what public libraries stand for and being on the helm of that,” she mentioned. “I went again to grad faculty in 2017 as a result of I knew that within the library world, I would want to get my grasp’s diploma to grow to be a director.”
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All through her tenure on the library, Clarke discovered that her love for educating youth carried over on the library as she engaged with youth, with out the challenges of the schooling discipline.
Because the library director, Clarke grew to become a Metropolis of Gering division head, which has allowed her to attach with fellow division leaders and be a driver in transferring the town ahead.
“Being a division head within the metropolis now has been enjoyable and difficult as a result of it’s new,” she mentioned. “My new coworkers and new friends, it has been actually enjoyable attending to know them. They work rather well as an admin group, so I used to be pleasantly stunned getting that help from them. They really have the residents at coronary heart. They actually wish to do one of the best they’ll for the town and I like being part of that.”
In her new function, Clarke has overseen a library refresh, which concerned repainting the inside partitions and reimagining the areas to include youth, tween, teen and grownup sources.
“We created a brand new teen and tween area,” she mentioned. “Our library is known as a vacation spot for generations. We wish all ages to have entry to every thing that we’ve got to supply.”
The library’s collections had been rearranged, providing all ages an area within the library. The youngsters’s space is downstairs the place the neighborhood room was once and options inexperienced, orange and blue coloured partitions, a group of books, toys and STEM actions. Academic programming actions can be on a rotating schedule all through the brand new yr, just like interactive displays. The youngsters’s area could have a Beam Projection System. There’s one out on the Elite Heart. The system will undertaking kinesthetic video games onto the ground that will get children transferring. They’re ready for the Beam firm to discover a native firm to do the set up.
“We simply need our caregivers and oldsters to have the ability to come to the brand new youngsters’s area as a result of it is free, academic and enjoyable,” she mentioned.
The neighborhood room abuts the youngsters’s space and presents the general public an area to carry conferences for social, work and academic functions.
Clarke utilized for a Library Companies and Know-how Act grant and simply discovered they had been awarded the grant. With these funds, the library is buying an owl projection system that comes with a laptop computer and tv. The general public is inspired to name the library to order the area.
The teenager zone, for ages 13 to 18, can be furnished with three new chairs, a rug and desk with a charging station, after the Gering Public Library Basis acquired a $2,361.70 donation from the Johnson Entities, who operates Gering’s McDonald’s. Moreover the teenager space is the tween zone, for ages eight to 12.
Youth Companies library Kira Perez wrote and acquired a youth grant in excellence from the Nebraska Library Fee. The grant permits the library to arrange a makerspace with a cricket, a button maker, a T-shirt press, a ebook binding machine and tinker kits.
“One of many issues we’re desirous to do with our teenagers is to launch a brand new TAG (Teen Advisory Group),” Clarke mentioned. “We have had one up to now known as TAB (Teen Advisory Board), however we’re updating it and Kira goes to take it in a brand new, contemporary path.”
The library can be increasing the Lego Membership by providing a tinker package program as soon as a month for youth ages 8 years and older. All youngsters can take part in Lego Membership each Wednesday from 3-4 pm
The renovations are nonetheless ongoing, however the main tasks of the refresh of paint and ebook rearranging happened in November. Clarke mentioned fellow metropolis staff pitched in to maneuver bookshelves and books with library employees over the Thanksgiving vacation.
“Proper earlier than Thanksgiving, we closed the library for a number of days,” Clarke advised the Star-Herald. “A type of days, departments within the metropolis all pitched in and came to visit right here. They bodily did the transferring – all the bins, bookcases and the books.”
Some library employees returned after the Thanksgiving vacation to get the books prepared for the reopening.
The updates can be unveiled alongside new programming in February, though the general public is welcome to go to the library within the meantime. The following part of the refresh will replace the lighting all through the constructing to LED lights.
The Gering Library noticed loads of change throughout 2022 and with Clarke on the helm, extra change is on the horizon because the employees work to supply programming and companies to satisfy the wants of all their patrons in imaginative methods.