Youth Services Librarian Karen Kociemba takes a break from a busy afternoon at the Seminole Community Library in her office decorated with many fuzzy, yellow bear friends.
SEMINOLE – When Karen Kociemba read the employment ad about the new Seminole Community Library and its open youth services supervisor position, she just knew it was written for her.
“Everything they wanted in a person, I had experience in,” Kociemba remembers. Her resume worked like a charm, and she has served as the city’s Librarian III – Youth Service Supervisor for the past year.
Florida’s climate helped too as Kociemba admits that even as a child, she hated the cold Minnesota winters. She has been a professional librarian for more than 20 years after earning her master’s degree in library sciences at the St. Cloud State University in Minnesota.
She started her career in a children’s library section, moving to the adult reference section and then management. Kociemba likes the feeling of coming full circle. This librarian has worked around the nation in places that include Oregon, Texas and Arizona.
She has also called several cities home throughout Florida. In Seminole, she especially likes the idea of working in a partnership environment such as the one between the city and St. Petersburg College.
“I remember interviewing for the job and peeking under the tarp into the new children’s section even before it opened,” said Kociemba. She said it was the staff’s enthusiasm that truly impressed her.
Most of this year, Kociemba said, has been spent getting to know the library, families and the area’s history. One thing Kociemba has learned is that this library is important to its patrons.
“What has impressed me the most is how much this community loves its library,” she said. “They are supportive of our efforts and our special programs.”
Kociemba has been doing a lot of listening and what librarians in the know call building collections.
“This is something I’ve done a lot of in the past,” she said. Kociemba has been responding to families’ requests for more toddler board books and beginning-to-read books for children.
Pre-school evening program on docket for fall
The library’s children’s programs will not be offered in August while the staff brainstorms and designs its next round of special lineups. Kociemba said that a reading program for pre-school children in the evenings would probably be added this fall. Many families have made this request, according to Kociemba.
Although the staff was somewhat concerned that this was their first summer program in the new library, Kociemba said all went quite well.
“We had full programs this summer. We’ve been really pleased with the number of people attending,” she said.
When the topic rolls around to the teenage set, Kociemba said these students “are awesome.” This summer, more than 56 teen volunteers helped out. “They are important to our programs,” she added. “We salute them.” She notes that the teen book collection is probably “the strongest one in the area.”
Kociemba sent kudos to the library staff, too. “They are one of the most dedicated staff I’ve ever worked with,” she said. “They are always willing to pitch in and help out.” She encourages the community to keep an eye open for the new roll out of library programs in the fall.