February 16, 2018

Emily Ellis | Movers & Shakers 2012 — Community Builders

Big with Teens

Emily Ellis Movers & Shakers 2012


Head of Reference and Teen Services
Greenwood Public Library, IN

MLS, Indiana University–Purdue University Indianapolis, 2007

2009 LSTA Innovative Grant “Mobile Laptop Classroom,” awarded $40,000

Mr. Potato Heads line cabinets, a bookshelf is full of zombie paraphernalia

Teen Scene
Greenwood Library Blog

Photo by Lindsey Wells

When it comes to teen services, Emily Ellis thinks big. In just three years at Greenwood Public Library, she increased program attendance by more than 133 percent, anchored by successes like the teen film festival, a collaborative effort with the local high school media specialist. Now in its third year and having spread countywide, the event is the culmination of a program that includes storyboarding and video-editing classes, plus access to cameras and other equipment. Big indeed, as 373 people attended in 2009— and 768 in 2010.

“Her relational, goofy style and excellent programs are what keeps them coming back,” says assistant director Cheryl Dobbs. “She relates very well to teens who never seem to want to leave her office.”

Now head of reference as well, Ellis also established a teen advisory group, which led to the creation of a first-ever teen department and the hiring of an additional teen librarian. With teen programming entrenched, Ellis’s goal is to “create future community leaders.” Teens are now hosting three to five programs every month.

Ellis and her teens have formed a mutual admiration society. “When adults walk into my office, they often shake their head in amusement. When teens walk into my office and smile, I know immediately that I’m working in the right profession,” says ­Ellis.



  1. Emily is the most innovative person I know. She has added so much to our library and virtually created our successful teen program. Thank you, Emily, for all that you have contributed to the Greenwood Library and community! Congratulations!

  2. Tibelius Ramshaw says:

    Ron Paul 2012!

  3. Mike Crumbo says:

    Congratulations Emily. Your dedication to the teens at GPL has long been recognized by the Board of Trustees, but now your success can be shared with everyone else. You are one of the exceptional members of the GPL staff, and help to make the Greenwood Public Library the special place that it is.