Gerber put library on the map

Director who created award-winning digital media lab is turning the page on her career by leaving Saukville to take job in Shorewood

STANDING AMONG THE shelves of books at the Oscar Grady Library in Saukville last week were Director Jen Gerber, who is resigning after 12 years to become the director of the Shorewood Public Library, and Assistant Director Martin Morante, who will become the library’s interim director. Photo by Sam Arendt



Ozaukee Press staff

Library Director Jen Gerber has transformed the Oscar Grady Library into an institution recieving statewide attention. She will depart on July 20 to become the Shorewood Public Library’s new director.

Since Gerber came to Oscar Grady in 2010, she has made an immense impact on the Saukville community by helping the library grow.

“Jen has been with us for 12 years and she not only grew into (the position), but grew our library as well,” Village President Barb Dickmann said.

Gerber created the library’s digital media lab, which won the 2016 Governor’s Award for Archival Innovation from former Gov. Scott Walker. Gerber said  she was astonished because the award is typically granted to engineers, not libraries.

The digital media lab allows library patrons to convert transparent slides and reel film into digital files. This way memories can survive in the modern era, especially family photos.

“When I was a kid all our family photos were on slides and shown at family holidays,” Gerber said. “Everyone would sit together and watch them together.”

Eventually, she was given her family’s old film and wanted to preserve them, but it was expensive. As she looked for options, the idea of creating a lab at the library to allow Saukville families the option to preserve their family history for free came about.

Dickmann loves the project and said, “It’s exciting to have that information in the library. It’s amazing.”

Dickmann is also a fan of Gerber’s procurement and digitization of the Jim and John Peterson Saukville Historical Collection, a series of historical artifacts donated by James Peterson that includes nearly 2,000 photos.

The Petersons were Saukville residents whose contribution lets patrons see artifacts showcasing different aspects of Saukville’s culture, including sports clubs, social organizations and local businesses.

Gerber said she will miss the library staff members the most.

“I have cried everyday since I put my notice in,” Gerber said. “I’m very emotional about it.

Gerber’s love for her staff is something Dickmann recognized, saying her ability to work as a team player helped the library grow.

Dickmann said she is sad to see Gerber go, but she is optimistic for both her future and the library.

“We’re very proud of her, and her work helped prove the validity of our library,” Dickmann said.

The search for a new library director has begun, meanwhile Assistant Director Martin Morante is filling in as interim director.



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Wisconsin’s largest paid circulation community weekly newspaper. Serving Port Washington, Saukville, Grafton, Fredonia, Belgium, as well as Ozaukee County government. Locally owned and printed in Port Washington, Wisconsin.

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