WTBBL Youth Services Librarian: Mandy Gonnsen
“Mandy blew into WTBBL like a welcome summer storm and immediately took charge of the youth services department! She started just weeks before the 2012 Summer Reading Program began and quickly planned out the entire eight weeks with reading lists and activities that were mailed to all participating youth in English or Spanish, depending on their preference,” says her colleague Eura Szuwalski, Electronic Services & Instruction Librarian.
Mandy Gonnsen is the Youth Services Librarian for the Washington Talking Book & Braille Library and she has a big job! Children from birth to 21, schools, teachers, and families are all the focus of the Youth Services Program. Mandy, a recent graduate of the Library and Information Science master’s program at the University of Washington, is a fantastic addition to WTBBL and is quickly becoming a vital team member for statewide providers and resources for children and teens with visual, physical, or reading disabilities.
Mandy has worked with children and teens in various capacities over the past few years, and is connecting with our young patrons and their families. She earned a bachelors degree in psychology from the University of Maryland and had a chance to work with kids and families from the research side as well. While a student at the iSchool, Mandy was a volunteer at WTBBL, then a temporary page while a staff person was on leave. “I was thrilled when Mandy applied for our Youth Services Librarian position – we already knew she was a real keeper and we were delighted to get her back and as a permanent part of our WTBBL family,” says Danielle Miller, Program Manager at WTBBL.
David Junius, Volunteer & Outreach Services concurs: “When Mandy joined WTBBL as a volunteer before she started library school, I knew she was a special person. In the year since she started working as a librarian here, she has proven me right.”
“I believe that youth of all ages have a place at the library, and I’m looking forward to establishing some fun and engaging programs for youth at WTBBL,” Mandy says. She is certainly making our youth patrons feel at home by revamping the children’s room at the library, growing the collection, and increasing library programming and our online presence. Since Mandy joined WTBBL in the summer of 2012, the number of children and teachers has grown and participation in events and reading programs has increased.
“Mandy does more in a day than many of us even think about doing. She is incredibly motivated, organized, and a true gift for our young patrons and families looking for ways to help their children reading,” says Danielle Miller.
“Mandy is an absolute inspiration to work with. I am constantly amazed by her ideas of how we can engage with our patrons and share the resources that are available here at WTBBL. Whether speaking with a patron, coworker, or guest, her enthusiasm for great books and stories is clear!” said Marah, a page in the Shipping Department.
Eura Szuwalski also says of Mandy, “I have been lucky to join her for many conferences and school visits during her time here and see firsthand her calmness, patience and energy when working with youth, from our baby patrons to our teen patrons. She is unstoppable and WTBBL is so very lucky to have her as part of our team!”
Mandy is excited to meet new people so please don’t hesitate to call or stop by with any questions or just to say hello. If you are a teacher or librarian around the state and want to learn more about WTBBL Youth Services, consider inviting Mandy for a visit, or setting up an online session with her.
Thanks, Mandy, for helping us reach our goal That ALL May Read.