Meet the Trustee: Melissa Masoner

Melissa Masoner serves as the secretary for the all-volunteer Topeka and Shawnee County Public Library Board of Trustees. She helps guide library policy and supports staff initiatives. She knows we have a great library, but supports initiatives to create an even better library for the community. She has served the community through board membership since 2010. Get to know a little bit more about Melissa by reading the Q&A below.

Q.) How long have you been a library cardholder?

A.) I have a lifelong history with our library. My favorite memory is of longtime children’s librarian Sheila O’Conner Reidel.  She must have found me every horse and dog book in print!

I also recall my parents’ involvement in advocacy in saving the old library building on the statehouse grounds. I find it interesting to realize my family history, as I now chair the library’s new Advocacy Committee.

Q.) Why did you decide to become a library trustee?

A.) I’ve always been passionate about libraries. Former Library Foundation Director Jim McHenry encouraged me get to know the new library director Gina Millsap, saying she was my kind of person. The rest is history.

Q.) Where do you work or where did you retire from?

A.) Although an educator, I’ve spent most of my career in the nonprofit sector. As an advocate for student voice, I’m pleased our library has an active Teen Advisory Board. Currently I’m pursuing a doctorate in education from Kansas University.

 Q.) What is your favorite area of the library and why? (or what area of the library are you most excited about and why?)

A.) Taking grandchildren to the children’s area is so much fun. I’m excited for the dedication of the gift of the Dr. Robert and Frankie Best Parman sculpture that shows a child and a beloved dog reading together.  The new planet gallery is awesome!

 Q.) Name a few ways you see the library making a difference in the Topeka and Shawnee County community.

 A.) In every visit to any part of the library I feel democracy in action.  Not only is it a marketplace of ideas but a place where everyone of any age or stage is accepted and respected.  I especially appreciate librarians. They act like there is no dumb question – and I ask plenty of dumb questions.  Overall, the library is the people’s place, a pillar of and for our entire community.

Q.) What will the library do in 2012 to make a difference for library customers and the community?

 A.) May the library always showcase the best of our democracy!