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Meet our new Library Strategist: Jenny Kobiela-Mondor

We are excited to announce that Jenny Kobiela-Mondor is the new MCLS Library Strategist. Jenny most recently worked as the Assistant Director of the Eckhart Public Library in Auburn, Indiana. She brings to us much experience around community engagement, strategic thinking, disaster recovery and planning, and intellectual freedom, both in her work as an assistant library director and through her efforts with the Indiana Library Federation. Her first day with MCLS will be September 7.

As a Library Strategist, Jenny will work as part of the MCLS Engagement, Consulting, and Training Team, and will offer strategic planning, meeting facilitation, and other consulting services to libraries of all types in Indiana and Michigan. We asked Jenny to tell us a little about herself:

Q: Tell us a little about your background. How did you get started in libraries?

A: I have been a library user for my entire life, and in college I even worked as a troubleshooter in computer labs at various locations around the IU Bloomington campus, including at several libraries. I started my professional career as a journalist at a local newspaper company, but after several years, a job supervising the genealogy department at Eckhart Public Library in Auburn, Indiana – my local library – opened up. As soon as I got started in libraries, I knew this was the right field for me! I started working on my MLS online and dove into learning everything I could at EPL. However, I should have known that libraries were in my blood – my sister is an academic librarian, and both of my grandmothers served on public library boards in Indiana.

Q: What motivated you to take on this new role?

A: I have been a big fan of MCLS for years. I have received so much training and support through MCLS. When this position came up, I knew that I wanted to be a part of such an innovative, supportive library organization. It was particularly appealing because I will get to work with so many different libraries and library staff members. I have helped lead Eckhart Public Library through a couple of intellectual freedom challenges, a reorganization, a fire that closed our Main Library for 2 1/2 years, and a pandemic, as well as all of the day-to-day issues that libraries face, so I’ve learned a lot in my career so far. I could see that this role gives me a unique opportunity to support libraries throughout Indiana and Michigan – to share my knowledge and experience, as well as learn even more about libraries and their communities.

Q: What are you most excited to start working on?

A: I am just finishing up the Certificate in Creating Wellbeing through The Wellbeing Lab, and I’m extremely excited to bring the tools I’ve learned during that experience to librarians. I think we have a great opportunity to help the wellbeing and mental health of library staff as we make our way through the (hopefully) end of this pandemic and emerge stronger, more resilient, and ready to serve our communities in new and exciting ways.

Q: What do you like to do when you aren’t working?

A: In stereotypical librarian fashion, I really do love to read, and I’m usually reading with at least one of my three cats in my lap! I also really enjoy movies, and I’m a big fan of the Star Wars and Marvel universes. I also try to see as many Oscar-nominated films as I can every year. I love to travel and see new places. I am also a big fan of live theater, particularly musical theater – my husband and I are season ticket holders for Wagon Wheel Center for the Arts in Warsaw and love attending shows all summer! I also dabble in crafts – I am OK at knitting and crocheting, and pretty good at counted cross-stitch. Next up to learn is needle felting!

Q: Do you have a favorite author, book, or genre?

A: I read a wide variety of genres, but I am a huge romance novel reader, especially historical romances. If you ever need a recommendation, let me know!

Q: Anything else you want us to know about you?

A: Someday I hope to be on Jeopardy, so if anybody needs someone for a trivia team, call me! I’d love the practice.

Welcome, Jenny! We are happy to have you on the team!