MONTICELLO – Sherry Waldrep’s experience in libraries goes back some time.
âWhen I was in high school, I worked in the library. It was a small job that I had. They would open the high school and elementary library for the summer. I even thought at the time that I could be a librarian, âsaid Waldrep, the new director of the Allerton Public Library.
After several years of work in career services at universities from Maryland to the Chicago area, her interest in library work returned when she began volunteering at the Mahomet-Seymour Junior Library. High.
This led to book shelving work at Muhammad’s District Library, which morphed into increased duties from library assistant to adult programming coordinator the two years prior to her hiring by the board. of the Allerton Public Library in July.
âI have always liked to read. Always. I made my children like reading; I did stuff with them all the time, whether it was story time or going to the library regularly, âsaid Waldrep, who has lived in Illinois for 11 years and currently resides in Muhammad.
The Wisconsin native earned a bachelor’s degree in social work and then a master’s degree in educational psychology from the University of Wisconsin in Milwaukee. She will be completing a second Masters of Information Science in Library Science – this one from the University of Missouri – in December.
Her previous experience includes time at St. Mary’s College and the University of Maryland, Benedictine University, Wheaton College and Concordia University, primarily in career counseling services. She has also taught on some of these campuses, including graduate courses.
She enjoyed this phase of her life, but perhaps appreciates libraries even more. Why? Well, as someone who describes themselves as an outgoing person, it’s all about people and interactions with them.
âI like interacting with customers. They obviously maintain a library, âWaldrep said. âAnd a library isn’t just books. A library is part of the community and can be a place for people to learn.
âYes, you can obviously learn from the book, but you can also learn through a program, you can learn through arts and crafts, you can learn through a lecturer. It’s a place where people can learn, and lifelong learning, I think, is very important for everyone.
This is why you will sometimes see Waldrep running the desk or roaming the library to meet people and get to know them personally.
âI love this part and I’ll probably continue it until the staff push me back into my office,â Waldrep joked. “It’s something that brings me a lot of joy – knowing people, knowing their names.”
At the same time, she is getting used to the administrative tasks of a librarian, such as producing monthly reports. She said the staff and the audience were very cordial as she learned the ropes.
âThe people are very, very nice. Everyone made me feel very welcome, âsaid Waldrep.
She also enjoys showing off the relatively new library building and is able to do so as part of a Heartland Library System ‘library crawl’, which encourages people to visit other facilities and have their ‘passport stamped. “.
âWe had our first visitors the other day and they commented, ‘Wow, this is a beautiful building.’ It’s nice to have this beautiful building that people appreciate.
She also touts the various resources the library can provide, such as a well-stocked history room, computers and books available not only in Allerton but also those that can be borrowed from other establishments.
Waldrep said she enjoys having a month under the tutelage of retired principal Lisa Winters.
âIt was really nice for Lisa to show me everything and hear everything the director is doing,â Waldrep said.
Steve Hoffman is editor-in-chief of the Piatt County Journal-Republican, a newspaper of the Community Media Group. To learn more, visit journal-republican.com.