New director steps in at Hillsboro Public Libary

A clerk at the Hillsboro library 10 years ago, Jeanie Bartel is now in charge of processing the library’s book collection and other resources and programs.
A clerk at the Hillsboro library 10 years ago, Jeanie Bartel is now in charge of processing the library’s book collection and other resources and programs.
The Hillsboro Public Library is beginning the new year under new leadership.

After nearly 20 years serving as the library director, Cathy Fish retired in December.

Following a search process, Jeanie Bartel was hired to fill the vacant position and began as library director Tuesday, Jan. 3.

Bartel grew up in Okla­homa and first moved to Hillsboro to attend Tabor College. At Tabor, she met her husband, was married, then lived out of state for a few years before moving back to Hillsboro.

For about two years beginning in 2006, Bartel worked at the city library as a clerk, then left to raise her fourth and youngest child.

“Now (my youngest child) has been in school for a couple of years, so I was looking for something a little more full time,” Bartel said. “Then this position came up, and I thought, ‘Hey, I loved working here before.’ The only negative is that I don’t get to work with Cathy anymore.”

Learning the job

The library director plays an important role in making sure the community is provided with a wide variety of books and resources.

According to the official job description, the library director “develops, administers, supervises and coordinates the work of the library and staff.”

A large part of Bartel’s job involves processing the library’s book collection.

“That wasn’t part of my job before, so that’s something I’ve been trained in during the last couple of days,” she said.

This process involves ordering books, removing books, checking ISBN numbers online and finding correct call numbers.

“There are so many steps for each book on the shelf,” Bartel said.

Hillsboro Public Library is a part of the North Cen­tral Kansas Libraries Sys­tem based in Manhattan. The NCKLS helps with book ordering, technology and training.

Bartel’s first few days of training also involved learning to navigate the computer system.

As the new director, Bartel said she hopes to continue to make the library more appealing to patrons.

“It already is really busy for a town this small,” she said. “I want to find ways to make it easier to use and to make people want to come in even more often.”

Bartel said she is especially looking forward to working with people, both the staff and the patrons.

“The people are great,” she said. “I’m looking forward to getting to know the regular patrons. There are some (people) who come in every week on a certain day. I still remember some from when I was here before.”

Love for books

Bartel said she has loved books from the time she was young. But her love for reading stemmed from a struggle to learn English.

“German was my first language, and I learned English when I went to first grade,” she said.

Bartel said she struggled with comprehension until she was in third grade, but once it finally clicked for her, she “couldn’t get enough books.”

Bartel’s interest in books grew as she surrounded herself with friends who had similar interests. She said her grandfather also was an avid reader.

“We didn’t have a lot of books in our house, but when we would visit (my grandparents), they would have lots of books, like nature books and other books like that,” she said. “So I know that my interest was fueled there. The older I got, it just opened up a whole other world.”

Bartel said while her favorite book changes often, her favorite genre is historical fiction and nonfiction, specifically stories set during World War II.

“I haven’t found a World War II or other historical book that I don’t really like,” she said.

Bartel said being a librarian was something she had thought about doing at some point in her life. Her new position allows her to extend her love for books into her work.

“Even if there was no one who came in, I’d still like it here because there are books,” she said.