Outreach Services Manager, Medina County District Library, OH
MLS, Kent State University, 1993
Association of Bookmobile and Outreach Services, 2017
Photo by Patrick Heagney
Read Outside the Walls
Ann Plazek has long believed in going where non–library users are. She developed her passion for outreach as a young page riding along on bookmobile runs, honed it as bookmobile supervisor at Medina County District Library (MCDL), OH, and today excels at it as the library’s outreach services manager. “I love opportunities to…let the community know how much has changed in the last ten years,” she says, using regularly scheduled Pop-Up Libraries to do just that.
Building on past successes in early literacy—developing Medina County ROCKS (Reading Opportunities Create Kindergarten Success) workshops for parents and children (as well as materials to take home) through a United Way grant—Plazek spent 2016 championing Project Read Inside to Outside. During monthly sessions, she teaches inmates early literacy skills and records them reading a book they’ve selected. The book (with handwritten message), an MP3 player with the recording, and library resources are then delivered to the inmate’s child by sheriff’s deputies. Partnership was critical, says Plazek, who shepherded the program through the sheriff’s office with the help of the superintendent of the county jail, who is also a part-time security officer at MCDL. So far, 48 inmates have participated in five months, and Plazek plans to expand the program further. She’s also continuing her outreach on a national scale, as this year’s president of the Association of Bookmobile and Outreach Services.