Wendy Johnson ready to ‘check out’ Carroll as city’s new library director
By SARAH STORTZ
While attending the University of Iowa, Wendy Johnson was majoring in biology, planning to pursue medical school. Around this time, Johnson also married her husband.
After having her first child, Johnson thought there was no way she could go on to graduate school and spend many years becoming a doctor.
“It’s one of those things that I guess life throws different stuff at you,” Johnson said.
When she was ready to have a job outside of her home, the library director position in her hometown of Scranton opened up. Thinking it was worth a shot, Johnson said, she applied for the position and has loved it ever since.
Just shy of staying at the Scranton Public Library for four years, the Carroll Library Board of Trustees announced Johnson will step in as the city’s next library director.
In her new position, Johnson will replace Rachel Van Erdewyk, who left the Carroll Public Library last May.
Since childhood, Johnson said, she’s always loved to read. Her experience of working at a library goes back to her college days, when she worked at the University of Iowa Main Library as a campus job.
As a librarian, Johnson said, she loves the multifaceted nature of her job.
“I like that there’s something different all the time,” Johnson said. “You don’t have a normal day because there’s so many different things that you do, and it depends on what’s going on that day. You could have a program, you could have a lot of patrons come in that you’re talking to, you could be working on budgeting. There’s just so much stuff that goes into it.”
At Scranton, Johnson wore many different hats, having responsibilities such as ordering books, putting them into the system, and checking them out.
“When you’re the library director for a small town, you have to do everything,” Johnson said. ... I got kind of a good, general overview of what everything that goes on in a library is.”
Regardless, the Scranton Public Library is only open 25 hours a week. Once the position for the Carroll Public Library Director became available, Johnson said she thought it would be a great opportunity to have a full-time occupation.
“It is a gorgeous building, I love the design,” Johnson said of the building. “I like the wide-open windows, there’s a lot of natural light that comes in that building, then when you go around to the children’s side, it’s a very fun environment over there.”
Beginning her new job on Sept. 6, Johnson said she will miss the patrons and connecting them with the right reading material.
“I got to know kind of their reading habits and I would order certain books and be like, ‘I know that this patron wants this,’” Johnson said. “Being able to connect them with a book that I knew that they would really enjoy was a lot of fun.”
Already living close to the area, Johnson said she thought she knew a lot about Carroll before applying.
During the interview process, Johnson went through a tour of the city, saying she was amazed by how much more there was of Carroll outside of what she’s already experienced. Now working in a new city, Johnson said she’s interested in knowing more about the local patrons.
“I think libraries are so great because they’re so unique, you can’t go into two libraries and they’re exactly the same,” Johnson said. “Each library is kind of tailored to their patrons in their community, so I’m very excited to see what the patrons of the Carroll Public Library need or what they want in their library.”
Outside of work, Johnson said, she loves spending time with her family and her five dogs. Her family consists of her husband, Tom, and her three kids.
Her oldest, Victoria, is pursuing a nursing degree from North Iowa Area Community College. Her middle child, Veronica, is a student at Central College. Her youngest, Steve, is starting his sophomore year at Greene County Community School District.