New Glenwood City Library Director: Amanda Brandt

By Missy Klatt

GLENWOOD CITY — While the Glenwood library has a new director in Amanda Brandt, Amanda is not new to Glenwood.  She lives in and grew up here and is a 1997 graduate of Glenwood City High School. Although Amanda has a genuine love for books, this was not her first career choice.

[emember_protected] After graduating from Glenwood, Amanda received a degree in Environmental Science from UW-Green Bay in 2002. Amanda states that it was a horrible time for the Environmental Science field and she actually ended up working at Cub Foods. She worked for a number of years at the Stillwater store before going back to school, this time to UW-River Falls, where she took English and creative writing with a professional writing minor. She finished that program in 2012 and was looking for a job in technical writing but they all wanted 3-5 years’ experience for entry level positions. Also at this time there were a lot of UW library positions being posted and Amanda thought that would be a lot of fun. One of her former professors told her about a totally on line program to get her Master’s in Library Science. So after being more frustrated in her job search that’s what she ended up doing.  While she was working on her master’s she had a work study job at the River Falls library, working at the reference desk. Then she was hired at the Hudson library in January of 2015. She started in adult services there but ended up as the teen librarian, while still doing some work in adult services. She currently works both here and in Hudson as they are both part time positions.

When Amanda first started this quest of getting her master’s in library science she was leaning more toward the academic world and she finds it surprising to herself that she is a teen librarian and a director in the public library system.

When asked why she applied for director’s position at Glenwood, Amanda says, “If I hadn’t been subbing here I probably wouldn’t have.” But everyone kept asking her, “Don’t you want to be the director? Don’t you want the job?” She really didn’t think she wanted to be the director but after she saw all the support that the library had here, she thought that maybe she could do the job. She also didn’t want the library board not be able to find anyone qualified. Sentimentality played a role in her decision, as well as she reminisces about this being her library growing up and her and her sister pulling the wagon down to the library so they could load up all their books. Amanda officially became the director at the end of January.

One of her first tasks as director was to get the library fully staffed. Amanda’s mom, Paula who was already working part time at the library, quit her position at the New Richmond library to put in more hours here in Glenwood. The rest of the part time staff consists of Jess Olson and Katie Schneider, who is the director at the Elmwood public library.

As for programs at the library, some things, like story time on Tuesdays will stay the same and of course there will be a summer reading program.  Amanda is also hoping to expand some of their programs, like adding a music and movement story time and increasing movie nights to once a month. The friends of the library just bought a popcorn machine.

They also hope to continue their partnership with Heather from UW Extension, who comes in quarterly and does a science program. Heidi Wagner has been coming to the library to do special crafts with the kids, like leprechaun traps and Valentine baskets. She plans to do a craft for earth day and make May baskets. Hopefully craft activities will also become a monthly event.

Amanda is also working on adult programming but she really needs your feedback as to what types of programs/topics would interest the adults in the community.

In the future Amanda would love to see the library as a type of community center where kids can hang out and do various activities at the library. She feels strongly that there is a need for that here in Glenwood. Of course a lot of these type of activities come down to funding but it’s something Amanda hopes will evolve over time.

Another area that Amanda is trying to grow is juvenile/young adult section, especially by adding more graphic novels.  This has been a growing area of literature that helps those who are struggling to read better because they enjoy this type of format and it keeps their interest.  Amanda goes on to say that some of the art work in these graphic novels is amazing.

Some other things that Amanda wants people to be aware of are eBooks that can be downloaded using the Libby app and using Flipster to read magazines on line. For more information about these options and more check out www.more.lib.wi.us.

Talking with Amanda, one soon finds out that she is an avid reader who loves books and is quite knowledgeable about different genres. When asked about her favorite kind of books she says that horror novels are her favorite with Stephen King being her favorite author but she enjoys reading all types of books.  Lately she has found some really good reads in the young adult section with some new authors. Look for staff picks in the future if you are looking for a good book to read, just talk to Amanda and she can give you some ideas if you’re looking for something new.

The library is now back to their normal operating hours, with extended hours on Monday from 12-7:30pm.  To find out the latest happenings at the library, check out their website: www.glenwoodcitylibrary.org or their facebook page.[/emember_protected]