In this series, New Faces, the Nebraska Library Commission interviews someone from the next generation of Nebraska librarians.
Today we are speaking with Donna Christiansen, Director at the Plainview Carnegie Library in Plainview, Nebraska. Donna received her certificate in Library and Information Services program from Central Community College in December 2012. She is a 2011-2013 Nebraska Library Commission / Institute of Museum and Library Services Laura Bush 21st Century Librarian scholarship recipient.
NLC: How is it you went to library school?
DONNA CHRISTIANSEN: I started as a children’s librarian and found out about the Nebraska Library Commission and the Scholarship program to get a library certificate. I thought this would be good to get since I wanted to improve my knowledge of librarianship and of course become a Library Director someday.
NLC: Did you receive a scholarship from the Nebraska Library Commission? How did it help you with getting an education and in your career aspirations?
DONNA CHRISTIANSEN: Yes, I received a scholarship from the NLC. It helped me tremendously; without it I probably wouldn’t have been able to get my Library Certificate. Especially with the extra help of providing me a new laptop and the ability to attend a national conference. With the new laptop I was able to do my online classes and attending the national conference helped me network with other library students and librarians.
NLC: What brought you to the world of library work?
DONNA CHRISTIANSEN: I enjoyed being a library aide in high school and I love to read and help people with computer issues. I started as the Children’s Librarian at the Plainview Carnegie Library in February of 2011. Then in September 2011 the Library Director retired so I was able to apply for the Library Director position and in October I became the Director.
NLC: What’s the most useful non-library work experience you bring to a library job?
DONNA CHRISTIANSEN: For a couple of years I had my own business, so I guess my business experience of handling money, etc., is what I bring to the library job.
NLC: What do you find most rewarding in your library job?
DONNA CHRISTIANSEN: I find helping patrons very rewarding. Whether it is helping them find a book, helping them with the computer, or watching the story time children do their craft projects to see them smile and having fun is very rewarding.
NLC: What do you find most challenging in your library job?
DONNA CHRISTIANSEN: Having all the books that people want to read. But thankfully there is the Interlibrary Loan program so it is easy to locate a book for a patron if we don’t have it.
NLC: How would you like to make a difference in the lives of library users or in the community your library serves?
DONNA CHRISTIANSEN: I would like to make the library be the center of the community, where the citizens can come and relax, read a magazine, check out a book, check their e-mail and use the computer, just be there for the citizens to use.
NLC: What does the future hold for libraries?
DONNA CHRISTIANSEN: I believe that libraries are more than just books and magazines. The future will be to let everyone know that the library offers more than what they believe a library is or was. We offer programs, computers, wireless Internet, and much more that we really have to promote that the library is much more than books and magazines.
NLC: What does the future hold for librarians?
DONNA CHRISTIANSEN: I believe that librarians are going to have to embrace the new technology that is out there and to think outside of the box to keep the library in the forefront of the community it serves.
NLC: What are you reading right now? What are your hobbies?
DONNA CHRISTIANSEN: I am reading an eBook, No Return by Brett Battles. My hobbies are reading, bird watching, fishing, collecting rocks and minerals.
NLC: Who is your role model?
DONNA CHRISTIANSEN: I would say my library role model would be the former Plainview Library Director, Loydell Swan. She gave 27 years to the library so I learned a lot working with her before she retired.
NLC: Please share a favorite quote, and why it’s your favorite.
DONNA CHRISTIANSEN: “A well-stocked, well-staffed library is like a gardener who plants books, knowledge, and dreams and grows readers, learners, and do-ers,” by Laura Purdie Salas. I just believe that this quote says what I believe a library is.