Tag Archives: Nebraska Library Innovation Studios

NLC Staff: Meet Cynthia Nigh

Cynthia Nigh HeadshotMeet Cynthia Nigh who joined The Library Commission staff this past August as a Project Assistant for the Library Innovation Studios Grant. Cynthia was born in Reedsburg, Wisconsin where her father worked for Amour Meats and later Dubuque Pack. Every morning he would receive a call with the market prices on the party line early and neighbors on the same party line soon learned what valuable information was being conveyed. Cynthia attended West Delaware Community High School in Manchester, IA and because of an influential Art Teacher named Mr. Renfrow, she applied for and was awarded an Art Scholarship to attend the University of Northern Iowa in Cedar Falls. Cynthia also attended Hawkeye Technical College for Commercial Art in Waterloo, IA.

As a young girl, Cynthia describes her reading habits as constant. She remembers fondly the number of scholastic books she and her sisters would order. A childhood favorite was Once and Future King by T. H. White. A Course in Miracles is another important book to Cynthia as her copy was given to her by her father. The value of this book for Cynthia is that “it helped me look at the world more peacefully.”

Cynthia says the best thing about working in a library is being amongst the stacks. She describes her own house as a library so close proximity to a collection of books is a comfort. The most challenging thing about this position is learning to operate each machine acquired for the grant; what supplies each machine requires; and writing operating manuals for library staff. Apart from work, Cynthia enjoys working in her garden, cooking, and canning with the bounty from her labor. If she could have dinner with anyone she would like to dine with Oprah but not at Cynthia’s house, in a neutral location.

If she won the lottery and no longer had to work, she might pursue more fully her interest in mycology – the study of mushrooms. She might also enjoy fully implementing a craft studio where she could be creative and perhaps a small business could emerge for selling her projects. Cynthia shares her home with her two sons, Dylan and Paul in addition to two rescue cats named Bonnie and Chloe. Because of her Iowa background, I asked what distinguishes life in Nebraska and she answered, Nebraskans are a little wilder and exhibit more freedom in their choices compared to the tucked in manner of Iowans. A perfect day for Cynthia would be laying around watching movies and binge watching Netflix titles. Welcome to Cynthia! NLC Logo

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JoAnn McManus: Nebraska Excellence in Leadership

JoAnn McManus PhotoJoAnn McManus (nee Jedlicka) was recently selected as a co-recipient of the Library Commission’s state of Nebraska Excellence in Leadership recognition award. She joined the Nebraska Library Commission in 2010 to work on the Library Broadband Builds Nebraska Communities Project funded through the Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP). Currently, she is working with the Library Innovation Studios Project (funded through an IMLS grant) with a team of Library Commission staff.

JoAnn grew up on a farm just outside of Schuyler, NE and is one hundred percent Czechoslovakian.  She graduated from Schuyler Central High School and is the youngest of thirteen children. Her mother was also from a family of thirteen. JoAnn was named after her first cousin, who was a child movie star named JoAnn Marlowe (Mares) who’s most famous picture was Mildred Pierce amongst the ten to her credit.

JoAnn earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration from the University of Nebraska at Kearney and is a Graduate of the Economic Development Institute from the University of Oklahoma.  She also completed coursework in Grant Writing and Research from the University of Nebraska at Omaha. JoAnn has held various positions, many in the economic development field and almost all in the area of project or grants management.  Most of the organizations JoAnn worked for served counties throughout the state including NPPD, Nebraska Departments of Economic Development, and the Nebraska Department of Labor so JoAnn has done her share of traveling to Nebraska communities. JoAnn says the most challenging thing about her current assignment is that there is so much to do in a concentrated amount of time especially in the first few months. Luckily there are others on the team that are going through these same challenges to move the project forward.  The best thing about working with librarians is serving Nebraska in a different way than in her former jobs,

If JoAnn could have dinner with anyone she would like to dine with Warren Buffett and should a winning lottery ticket find its way to her possession, she would retire and begin traveling with Hawaii and Ireland being top of her list. When she is not working at the Commission, JoAnn enjoys going to estate sales and is drawn to buying pretty objects. She has one case and two booths at the Aardvark Antique Mall and her family is always surprised when what looks like a useless purchase actually sells.  JoAnn won’t be quitting her day job anytime soon, selling ‘treasures’ pencils out as more of a hobby.

JoAnn is married to Brian McManus and together they have a son Daniel. They also share their home with one cat named M&M. A perfect day would include spending time with her family enjoying adventures together. Congratulations JoAnn!NLC Logo

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