Written by Mark Jaeger
Wednesday, 23 December 2009 17:19
Gerber has experience working at libraries in Grafton and MequonJen Gerber, the newly hired director of the Oscar Grady Library in Saukville, comes to the job with a background in publishing and library services.
Gerber was hired by the Village Board last week, on the unanimous recommendation of the Library Board.
She was the patron services manager at the F.L. Weyenberg Library in Mequon before accepting the Saukville job.
That background made her an appealing choice from a field of 16 candidates, but officials said Gerber brought more to the table than just experience in the field.
“I think her strongest asset was her enthusiasm and her high level of energy,” said Library Board President Joann Weisner.
“We liked that she has background working in the Eastern Shores Library System, but what impressed us most was that she repeatedly said, ‘I really want this job. This is the kind of job I have been waiting for.’
“You could tell it was sincere, because Jen was grinning from ear to ear when the Village Board hired her. I think we all agreed Jen was the clear choice.”
Four finalists were interviewed for the position.
Gerber developed a strong love of books during the two years she worked as a bookseller for Barnes & Noble. She was eventually made a department manager, before accepting the position of field representative for Scholastic Publishing in 1998.
Gerber gained library experience when she worked as a librarian at Brown Deer Middle School from 2001 to 2003.
She also held a part-time position at the USS Liberty Library in Grafton. That duty eventually grew into a full-time job in the library’s circulation department, where she worked until 2007.
“It was in my position there, working with the director and staff, that I learned the value of a small town, community library,” Gerber said.
That job hit close to home, too, because she and her husband Adam have a three-year-old daughter and live in Grafton.
For the past two years, she worked at the Mequon library.
“I saw it as an opportunity to learn even more in the library profession through collection development and programming,” Gerber said.
Weisner said she was impressed by the innovation Gerber brought to the Mequon job.
“She was always looking for new ideas, like the introduction of a chalk art program that brought beautiful artwork to the entry of the library, and inviting guest speakers to the library,” Weisner said.
Weisner said a similar openness to innovation was a strength of former library director Linda Pierschalla, who left the Saukville job in September after six years to become the director of the Whitefish Bay library.
“We felt that approach to innovation was important. Even in these challenging budgetary times, the board is committed to moving the library forward,” Weisner said.
Gerber said she knew Pierschalla through the Eastern Shores Library System and was impressed by her leadership.
“I want to continue a lot of what Linda Pierschalla started here, and bring in even more community programs,” Gerber said.
She gives no heed to people who question why she would leave Mequon for a library job in Saukville.
“Going to a smaller library without as much money may not seem glitzy to some, but I like the idea of a challenge and the thought of returning to a small town library. I think I am going to feel right at home in this smaller setting,” Gerber said.
Gerber will start her new job on Jan. 6. She will draw an annual salary of $45,000, with the possibility of a $1,000 pay hike after a 180-day probationary period.