June 18, 2018

Trina Evans | Movers & Shakers 2018 – Innovators

Trina Evans


Branch Assistant, Kokomo–Howard County Public Library, IN


MLIS, University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, due December 2018


@be_like_a_tree on Twitter

Photo by Douglas Gritzmacher


Tenacious “T”

When it comes to funding programs at the Kokomo–Howard County Public Library (KHCPL), Trina Evans has dubbed herself the #persistentlibrarian. “I am not afraid to ask, be told ‘no,’ or wear people down until they say ‘yes,’ ” Evans explains. Since she began working a few hours a week for KHCPL in 2014, Evans has become, in the words of Director Faith Brautigam, a “one-woman tidal wave.”

Now a full-time branch assistant in the Russiaville branch library, Evans has spearheaded an impressive list of special projects. To each she brings her trademark enthusiasm, drive, and tenacity. Consider the Nature Explore Outdoor Classroom, built on an empty lot next to Russiaville. After seeing a similar example, Evans immediately prepared a detailed pitch to her supervisors, including costs and sources of funding.

When the idea was approved, she went to work getting volunteers, partnering with town government, and lining up donations. She even won $1,000 by entering a contest from the state library association. The classroom has increased traffic to the branch by drawing patrons from other libraries to Russiaville. “It also has helped create the perception of being a destination location for the community,” Evans says.

Brautigam says Evans has added an “impressive array of special projects” to her workload, while taking two classes a semester toward her library degree. Thanks to Evans, KHCPL became the first U.S. library to host an exhibit of street artist Banksy’s Haight Street Rat, drawing more than 1,000 visitors from as far away as Texas and California. To accompany the traveling exhibit Discovery Tech: Engineers Make a World of Difference, Evans conceived and coordinated 40 events—from talks by Ayanna Howard, one of the top women engineers in the country, to field trips for over 3,000 students.

“Sometimes I start conversations with, ‘I have a crazy idea,’ ” says Evans, who credits her supportive colleagues for not dismissing them out of hand. “I also don’t stay confined to my job description.”

Evans credits her “service heart” to the Big Brothers/Big Sisters program. One of her most prized possessions from childhood is James Herriot’s The Christmas Day Kitten, which her Big Sister gave her. That memory also fuels her sense that a special program can change the direction of a patron’s life.

In the works are a Girls Who Code club, a STEM program for kids, winter activities for the outdoor classroom, a green space at another branch, and more traveling exhibits. Evans says, “I want to keep our community asking, ‘What is the library going to do next?’”

This article was published in Library Journal. Subscribe today and save up to 35% off the regular subscription rate.

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