An interview with Library Director Carrie Herrmann
Carrie Herrmann has worked for Boone County Public Library for seventeen years, the last two as the Library Director. She shares what inspired her to pursue a career in the library field, “I have always been a reader. My first job after graduating from high school, was in a library. I worked there during my four years of college with no intention of becoming a librarian. My undergraduate degree was in English. When I started graduate school, I intended to become a Material Culture Specialist. I planned to work in a living history museum or maybe a fiber arts museum. My job during graduate school at Indiana University was in a library again.  I worked in the library and went to grad school for about a year and I then thought, what am I doing? All my jobs have been in libraries. I love working with people of all ages – helping them find books and information. I love the look they get on their faces when I have found them what they want. So, I transferred from I.U. to University of Kentucky and got my Master’s in Library Information Science.”
Carrie’s family went to the library regularly when she was growing up. She says her family members were big library users, “We used Kenton County Public Library’s Erlanger Branch. I hated grocery shopping, so every Saturday my parents would drop me at the library on their way to shop. They’d pick me up afterward, review my stack of books and then bring me back again the next week. If I had homework, I knew where to go – the library. We were big library users.”
The library is more than a career for Carrie, it’s her passion and it has made a difference in her life by giving her a chance to learn about a lot of different things things. “I’m very curious – I like to learn. I’ve attended a lot of library programs over the years and I’ve learned a lot of things that I’m still using today. I was introduced to authors, through the library, that I never would have known about. I use the things I’ve learned about early literacy and grade level readiness at both work and home. The library has allowed me to satisfy my curiosity, and having it for my career is just icing on the cake.”
Carrie says that helping people is the most rewarding part of her job, “I remember helping someone with their resume and then they came in later and told me they got the job. It’s rewarding to be able to make a difference for someone. In June, I will have worked a total of thirty years in libraries. In those thirty years, I have helped many people write resumes, practice for interviews, do research, find materials, and I’ve even taught grandparents to text.”
Her favorite part of the library is the Children’s Department, “I love the children’s area. I will take an afternoon walk around the library and I always end up in the Children’s Department. I like to watch the kids find their books, play games and use the iPads in the early literacy stations. The children’s area is alive! It’s vibrant and busy!”
When asked what she would like the library to do if there were no limits, she said, “Longer Sunday hours! I’d also like to be able to bring big name authors to the library, the top ten, but they are very expensive. I’d like to have a commercial kitchen in the library so we could offer cooking classes for all ages. I’d like all of our branches to be green buildings, whether LEED certified, or Living Building Challenge. Not only would green buildings save taxpayer money in the long run, but they would be educational. Green public buildings are very expensive to build, though.”
Carrie says she loves to read romance novels and when she’s not reading romance, fantasy fiction. Her all-time favorite book, however, isn’t romance or fantasy, it’s A prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving. She says, “I am a character driven reader and this book has such memorable characters. They came alive for me. It’s a wonderfully told story. Years ago, my dad handed me the book and told me he thought I’d really like it. He was right. He took my sister and me to Playhouse in the Park to see the play and it was like re-reading the book.”
And we all want to know, does Boone County Public Library’s Director read digital or paper? Carrie answers this question, “I never would have thought I’d say this, but I read almost exclusively digital. I only pick up an actual book when it’s not available in a digital format.”
To end the interview, Carrie was asked, What should people who don’t work in libraries know about librarians?”
She replied, “We’re not all made from the same cloth. I like to read but not all librarians do. We are very different just like the people we serve in the community. And we don’t sit around reading books all day while we are at work!”
PR Coordinator Becky Kempf has been telling people about the Library for thirteen years. When she isn’t busy evangelizing about books, reading, and the Library’s concert series, she’s out photographing dogs, birds, rusty old cars and her grandchildren.