I have the great pleasure of congratulating Amanda on her 15 years of service to the Edwardsville Public Library and the City of Edwardsville.
Amanda worked as a Cataloger in our Technical Services Department for many years before taking on the challenge of the newly-created role of Circulation Manager in 2016. I have never known her to back away from a challenge, and this new role was the perfect example of how a challenging situation motivates her and drives her to excellence. She has streamlined our circulation processes, documented our procedures, and built an outstanding circulation staff. Managing a group of 17 high-spirited free-thinking library staff members is not always an easy task!
There are many people who have good ideas yet struggle to implement them. Amanda, however, not only has great ideas, but she is able to translate that into results. She is able to pick out the key information in any given situation, process it, and formulate solutions quickly. Amanda knows better than anyone how to extrapolate meaningful data from our library software to help us make informed decisions, and I have come to rely on her to think through these processes.
One thing that will be clear to anyone who has a conversation with Amanda is that she has a passion for public libraries and their role in their communities. You will certainly start to second guess your own position or even start to see things her way, if you are on the opposing side of an issue that Amanda believes in strongly!
Public libraries are always trying to evolve to better meet the needs of the community while still remaining within the confines of our limited resources. Amanda excels at being forward-thinking and adapting to changes to better serve the community of Edwardsville. She always has the best interest of the patrons as her first priority, and we are so fortunate and proud to have her as part of our team and EPL. I rely on her excellence on a daily basis, and I appreciate the passion and energy she brings to work with her every day. Thank you for your service, Amanda!
- Jill Schardt, Director EPL
How long have you worked at the library?
15 years as of June. I’ve worked here most of my adult life.
In what part of the library do you work and what do you do?
I was in the Technical Services depart for over 10 years. First as a Barcoder and then as a Cataloger.
In 2016 I became the Circulation Manager. As the circ. manager, I support our circulation staff by providing training, writing the schedule, and helping to improve daily procedures. I’m kind of a data / organization nerd so I have also continued to do some of the stuff I loved from tech. services, like track usage statistics and help with collection maintenance. I’m also the person you’ll most likely work with if there are any issues with your library account.
What has changed the most since you started working here?
I think one of the biggest changes that I can track in this time period is the perception of libraries, both from myself and from the public.
I was drawn to this profession because I loved books and had nostalgic memories of visiting the library in my youth. I had this really romantic notion of this building as a magical place full of stories, potential, and wonder. I haven’t lost that romantic notion but the longer I stay here the deeper my understanding and appreciation is of what actually happens here.
More than just a repository for knowledge and stories, the library is the linchpin of a community. I used to think that libraries are about books but have learned that they are really about people. I see that idea becoming more and more prevalent in the narrative around the institution.
What services offered at the library do you wish more people knew about?
Like, all of them? I think lots of our patrons have learned more about the awesome digital resources that you can access from home in recent times.
My current favorite digital resource is A-Z World Foods. You can choose any country and get a brief description of typical cuisine as well as a few representative recipes. I love global foods and it has been so fun to try to make some of my favorites like the Indian dessert Gulab Jamun.
What has kept you working at the library?
My co-workers. I work with a team of passionate, intelligent individuals. Everyone who works here really cares about the services we provide and about enriching our community.
I also love the variety of the work I do. I generally only have an idea of about 50% of what my day will entail whenever I come to work. This place is very regularly surprising.
If you could have coffee with any author, who would you choose?
Tamora Pierce. I’ve been a fan since I was a young’un and continue to read and re-read her stories to this day. I would love the opportunity to thank her for her work.
What is your favorite book that you’ve read in the past year?
New Year, Same Trash: Resolutions I Absolutely Did Not Keep by Samantha Irby. She’s my very favorite essayist right now. I identify hard with her self-deprecation and her very specific take on the world. I legitimately laughed out loud several times through the course of this book.
What is the first book you remember reading?
Probably The Sesame Street Treasury set that we got at the grocery store. (I’m really dating myself here.)
The first book I bought for myself was a copy of Sarah’s Unicorn by Bruce Coville and Katherine Coville. It was a discard from my grade school library and I still own it today.
Do you have a favorite book genre?
Speculative Fiction. Speculative stories are kind of like an experiment. They hypothesize about what would happen to x if you changed y. For example, one of my favorites is S.M. Stirling’s Dies the Fire. Stirling proposes the effects of loss of electricity on society and it makes for a darn good story.