by nathan oster
Tina Ely is settling into her new position as the branch manager of the Greybull Public Library.
Tina, who took over for the retiring Betty Koller, began her new job on May 1 after serving for five months as a library page. Prior to that, she did an unpaid, 90-day internship at the library as part of her degree requirements.
“I’ve done a little bit of everything — shelving, cataloguing, whatever was required,” she said.
Tina said Koller groomed her to one day be her replacement. So when Koller announced she was leaving, Tina applied, got the job and began learning all she could.
“Betty encouraged me throughout and taught me about cataloguing, how to get books ready, how to order them, and how to do the reports.
The daughter of L.E. and Margaret Ely, Tina grew up in Greybull, but then left for many years. In 2001, partly because of her husband Earl (whom she married in 2001) and partly to be closer to her parents, she moved back. Tina and her sister Denise ran the Wagon Wheel until 2005. After that, she worked with Earl in his construction business until he retired.
It was about that time that she decided to go back to school, hoping to find a career where she wouldn’t have to do as much physical labor. She eventually earned a degree in business from Northwest College.
All along, she had intentions of going to work for a library. She cited her experience working in the high school library, as an aide for Mr. Frank Zielke, as well as her own family’s affinity for the written word. “We grew up with parents who read … there was always books and newspapers in the house,” she said.
While she hasn’t been in her new position long, Tina said the thing she enjoys most is “the challenge of being the branch manager, learning the ins and outs and how everything works. To work there, you have to have an incredible amount of training on the programs that we use. We do so much with them. It’s not just checking books in and out. There’s a lot to learn.”
One of her goals moving forward is “to see more young people coming in to read books” and she has already ordered a number of new young adult and juvenile books. “I’d really like to encourage them to come in and check out what’s there.
“Right now they come in and use the computers, which is wonderful. But we have kids who strictly use computers; we’d like to see a little bit of a reversal and them going back to reading more books.”
Tina said input from library users would be appreciated when it comes to ordering new books.
“It’s a challenge, picking the books the community wants to read. I’m open to suggestions.”