Ann Schoenenberger, a digital librarian for 10 years with the Kenton County Public Library, was recently named one of 52 outstanding professionals committed to providing excellent service and shaping the future of libraries by the national publication Library Journal.

Schoenenberger was selected for her commitment to the profession and innovation in working with the community. Schoenenberger has worked to make strong partnerships with local web developers, tech companies and the maker community.

Q Why did you decide to become a librarian?

A I am a person who likes to learn. That’s one of my main motivations. And as a librarian you get to continually learn and encourage other people to do the same.

Q How have libraries changed since you became a librarian 10 years ago?

A One of the major shifts that we are seeing is … as technology has come and sort of pervaded everything … it sort of shifted us to a position of we’re helping people get the digital skills. It’s sort of brought another dimension to our work.

Q Did you think when you first started as a librarian that you’d see such a transformation in terms of digital technology?

A Well, yes, actually, because my focus when I was in school was digital library, so a lot of that at that time was sort of the mindset of we’re going to be … translating print materials to the digital world, which is still part of what we do. For example, our library has the largest photo collection in the state. Having that available, all those images available to everybody online, is one of our most valuable things that we offer.

Q You helped organize the Coder and Maker Club. Did you ever want to become a coder or maker?

A Well I actually am an artist and I also have learned some coding. And I’m continually trying to learn along with the people that come to the club, so I’m right in there.

Q Where does your interest in technology come from? Did you always have it as a kid?

A No. I was not what you would think of as a techie kid. I spent a lot of time playing outside and doing art. But it comes back to the curiosity and the learning and just using your hands. And with technology, especially some of the electronics, constructing things and the creative aspect of it that’s what really draws me to it.

Q You’re also an exhibiting artist. Tell me about that side of you.

A Well, when I have time, after my job, I create all kinds of art. I’ll sort of integrate 3-D printing and modeling and then sort of create sculptures and installations.

Q What’s something that most people don’t know about you?

A I am recruiting volunteers who would like meet weekly with kids in schools on a one-to-one basis for reading, STEM activities, and mentorship. I have been a one-to-one tutor and can say it is equally beneficial to student and mentor. You will create real joy to look forward to every week.

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