Like many people new to Bella Vista, Amanda Gibson was surprised at the number of volunteers she found herself coordinating. Gibson is the new adult services librarian at the Bella Vista Library.
Being a volunteer coordinator is only one aspect of her new job, but she appreciates the hard work she's seen during her first week.
"They're really the face of the library," she said. Volunteers are usually the first people that patrons see when they approach the checkout desk. The staff is small and often working behind the scenes, she said. The library depends on its volunteers.
She started last week while the library was without an executive director. Other employees, including children's librarian Ellen Farwell, were taking over the director's duties, including training the new adult services librarian.
She grew up in a tiny town in central Arkansas, Scotland. When Gibson started at the University of Arkansas Fort Smith, she planned a career as an English teacher. She had the chance to work at an after-school program at a local junior high and that made her rethink her career goals. As a child, she had spent hours playing library with her grandmother, so she dropped her education track and majored in English. Library science became her graduate program.
When she told her grandmother about her decision, her grandmother replied, "That's what you're supposed to be doing."
Her master's degree came from the University of Wisconsin. It's not available in-state, so she found an online program. She worked as a sales assistant for Channel 5 for a semester and then found a job as a library assistant in Van Buren.
After receiving her master's degree, she became the branch manager for the Alma branch of the Crawford County Library and she knew she had made the right choice.
She met her husband through the library. She was helping a woman choose dinosaur books for her little boy and didn't realize the woman was also looking for a girl for her brother. After Gibson checked the brother out on social media, they agreed to meet and married about a year later. Since her husband is a Fayetteville police officer, Gibson gave up her job in Alma and moved northwest.
She spent a year working at the Fine Arts Library on the UofA campus but she missed the interaction with patrons of the public library, so she was happy to start in Bella Vista.
Gibson will work closely with events coordinator Bailey Kinsner to put on events for adults at the library. She knows from past experience that the library patrons are the best source of ideas for events. In Alma, she hosted the Young At Heart Book Club after speaking with an adult who didn't realize it was OK for adults to read young adult fiction. There are also ideas to be shared at library conferences.
She'll also take over the traveling library and bring it to Concordia and Brookfield Assistant Living.
So far, her greatest challenge has been learning everyone's name.
Gibson spends her long commute listening to audiobooks that she downloads through the public library OverDrive system but hopes to move closer in the future.
When she's not working, she spends her time reading, running and trying out new recipes with her husband.General News on 09/12/2018
Print Headline: Library welcomes new staff member