Sparta Free Library has a new director
Growing up in Elkader, a small community in northeast Iowa, Shanneon Grant would walk to the library to get her books.
"I fell in love with libraries in a small town," she said. "Sparta feels familiar in that sense."
That's why Grant, who has 26 years of library experience, is excited about her new position as director of the Sparta Free library. She's only been on the job for a little over one week but said she is inspired by the support the community has for its historic structures and the library in particular.
Grant comes from La Crosse, where she was most recently acquisitions librarian at the main branch of the city's public library. A UW-La Crosse graduate, she initially studied elementary education but her job in the university library drew her to that profession and she ended up staying on after graduation.
Grant eventually earned her master's degree in library science from UW-Milwaukee, and also teaches online classes through UW- Madison to those seeking library director certification.
And while she is still trying to get situated in her new position, she said she is entering an environment with a lot of positive momentum.
"The staff has done a lot of programming and invited the community to make this more of a community hub and a place where people can come not just for materials but also for some great programming, cultural events and help with technology," she said.
The latter item Grant was referring to is a library program that offers technology tutoring where patrons can get help working with tablets, e-books, smart phones, social media and other tech-related matters.
Grant said over her career, libraries have expanded their offerings to include access to Wi-Fi and internet service as well as increasing their programs for children and adults.
"We have so many opportunities for people to come and have (the library) be a place where people can interact with each other," she said.
Grant enters the position as the library is considering a possible expansion/renovation. The library is working with an architect and is hosting community forums, which began August 6. The next session is tonight (Monday) at the library beginning at 6 p.m.
There also will be sessions August 28 and 29, and September 18.
"We're just asking the community what they would like to see in a possible expansion/renovation," said Grant.
Besides Grant, the library has seven other staff members, including;
•Kayce Henderson, adult services librarian.
•Aimee Schreiber, youth services librarian.
•Paula Steigerwald, administrative library assistant.
•Amy Weisenberger, library assistant.
•Lori Einer, library assistant
•April Anderson, library assistant
•Donna Haack, substitute.
Grant said she will commute at least for the time being. Her husband, Todd, is a special education teacher for the Bangor School District. She has two sons, Trevor, who just graduated from La Crosse Central and will be going to UW-Madison in the fall, and Evan, who will be attending Longfellow Middle School this coming school year.