February 17, 2018

Ken Pienkos | Movers & Shakers 2009 – Marketers

Ken Pienkos, Oxford Public Library, PAUpselling the Library

When Ken Pienkos learned that a patron would publish a story in the anthology Chicken Soup for the Breast Cancer Survivor’s Soul, he planned a book-signing event. He invited patrons to meet the author, Teri D’Ignazio, and share experiences. Then he borrowed a 20-gallon soup pot from the local church and served chicken soup all day.

Pienkos says his retail past in antiques and home decorating fuels his sense of marketing at the library. While he has hosted visits from authors Lisa Scottoline, John Grogan, and Mark Bowden, he also has a magic touch regarding local issues and community pride. As a founding member of the Oxford Art Alliance, a group that sponsors cultural events, he helped assemble a 21-member Board of Directors in three months and launched an art gallery three months later that is an informal library “annex.”

In 2004, Pienkos used an 00 environmental education grant for an environmental “family fun” fair and gave patrons free reusable bags for a year–“before anyone else was doing it.” Determined to engage with the Spanish-speaking community, Pienkos partnered with a local organization and revived an ESL program that now has 70 students. The irresistible lure: free quality childcare. He also convinced the Chester County Health Department to publish brochures in Spanish.

With a ,000 Verizon grant, Pienkos held a teen podcasting session and bought a Wii and flat-screen TV—an initiative nicely complementing his zero-tolerance policy for misbehavior by teens or, actually, patrons of any age. Infractions mean revoked library privileges, but “anyone who’s strayed is welcome back in an appropriate amount of time,” he says.

Policy aside, Pienkos just likes to have fun. Weekly, he suits up and roams the library as “Sunny, the Library Mascot,” an oversized yellow Labrador (inset, above). “I am proud of each day’s efforts,” he says. “I come to work to have a nice time and do a good service for the community.”


Oxford Public Library, PA

POSITION Executive Director

DEGREE MLS in progress, Clarion University

ALTER EGO “Sunny, the Library Mascot”

BOARD MEMBER Campdreamcatcher