“Jeannie Remillard is one in a million! She steals your heart the moment you meet her and you’ll never get it back. She’s truly an inspiration.”
“These statements from a co-worker couldn’t be truer,” notes Laura Sherbo, manager of Library Branches for the Washington State Library (WSL). “Jeannie has been the DOC and DSHS branches’ cheerleader for over 20 years, keeping spirits up in spite of devastating cuts to staff, resources, and the closure of several branches.”
Jeannie began her career with WSL at the Penitentiary (WSP) in 1991 and worked there until 2010 when she decided to leave eastern Washington for the Washington coast. The move from the tiny WSP-MSC Library to the spacious branch at Stafford Creek Corrections Center (SCCC) was a good one, though it took some time to adjust from the dry climate of Walla Walla to the rainy climate of Aberdeen.
“She brings laughter and love into her prison library,” says another co-worker. Jeannie’s unique sense of humor is one of the things ILS staff treasures about her and it has helped them through some tough times. It allows her to deal with difficult patrons in a way that disarms them and, coupled with her firm conviction that customer service is a top priority, she has legions of fans all across the state.
Here’s what one inmate at SCCC had to say: “You really made a difference in my life. I hope you are able to work in the library for a really long time because you exceed all of our expectations. You are a great librarian and a great person. Thank you very very much.”
Acting State Librarian Rand Simmons reflects, “Laura and I visited the Stafford Creek library last June. The library was filled with inmates and what’s more the inmates that train dogs were also in the library with their tail-whapping trainees. I constantly heard, ‘Jeannie, Jeannie, Jeannie.’ What appeared to be chaos was really a chorus of affection for their librarian. But don’t be fooled. Under that smiling exterior is an internal drill sergeant. When it came time for the inmates to leave they bunched up in the security gates. Behind me bellowed a command, ‘Back up, back up, back up,’ and like obedient school boys they all backed out of the security gates. ‘Now one at a time,’ and the “school boys” did just as Jeannie said. Then a chorus, “Bye Jeannie; We love you Jeannie.”
Jeannie exudes the wonderful spirit of our DOC and DSHS librarians. Kind when possible, firm when necessary, and always customer oriented. Thank you for your leadership.