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User Spotlight: Mandy Arnold, Henrico County Public Library

Meet Mandy Arnold, Teen Services Librarian, Tuckahoe Area Library, Henrico County Public Library

Tell us about your work and what you find most rewarding about it.

As a Teen Services Librarian for Henrico County Public Library, I work with teens and tweens to meet their reading and information needs, provide enriching age-appropriate programs, and support the services of the library system. Henrico County Public Library staff makes a positive impact in the community every day. I feel honored to be a part of a team that provides exceptional reading and information materials, fun and educational programs, and outstanding customer service to people of all ages. Just last year, Henrico County Public Library had more than 1.8 million visits and public computers were used more than 500,000 times.

The most rewarding part of my job is connecting teens to new books through reader?s advisory. It is exciting to recommend a book to a teen and a few days later they return raving about it and asking for the sequel. It?s in those moments I know I am encouraging the development of lifelong readers.

Tell us about your biggest accomplishment and greatest challenge so far.

My biggest accomplishment in this position was an outreach and instruction opportunity this past fall. Through the generous contributions of the Library of Virginia and its partners, all Virginia public libraries now offer free access to Homework Help, an online tutoring tool. There was a need in our community for this kind of resource so I visited local middle schools and taught students, teachers and administrators how to use it. Homework Help usage in our area jumped from 4 to 574 in just a month!

Beginning a job with a new employer is always a challenge. You?re learning about your co-workers, policies and procedures, and where you fit in the big picture. I have been in my current job for nearly seven months. In that short time, I feel the Henrico County Public Library staff and my co-workers at Tuckahoe Area Library have welcomed me with enthusiasm, patience and friendliness. I can?t take credit for facing the challenge of a starting a new job alone because I have the support and guidance of so many awesome colleagues around me. The lesson I learned from this challenge is to be open and trust in others. Don?t feel that you have to be a rockstar straight out of the gate. Give yourself time to adapt, ask lots of questions, and be receptive to advice.

What exciting projects or events do you have coming up?

We are co-sponsoring the All Henrico Reads event featuring author Adriana Trigiani on April 24th at 7:00 p.m. at Glen Allen High School. This free event is open to the public and a great opportunity to hear a popular author in person! We also have the summer reading club starting up soon. The theme this year is ?We Dig Reading!? and Henrico County Public Library will host summer events, reading groups, contests, and prize give-aways. I?m perhaps the most excited about an upcoming event at my branch: Jumpstart Your Summer on Saturday, May 18th from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. at the Tuckahoe Area Library. It is a volunteer fair for teens where they can meet representatives from local organizations and sign up for volunteer opportunities on the spot!

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