A new chapter

Monica Owens leans on a bookshelf Wednesday afternoon in the children’s section of the Albany County Public Library.

SHANNON BRODERICK/Boomerang photographer

Although she moved a lot while growing up, public libraries were a constant piece of Monica Owens’ childhood.

“My mom used to always say wherever we moved had to be walking distance to a library,” Owens said. “That stuck with me.”

The latest library in Owen’s life is Albany County Public Library, as she joined the staff as the youth services librarian a few weeks ago.

Owens moved to Laramie from Colorado, where she worked most recently at Summit County Library in Frisco, Colorado. She decided to move to Laramie after a good recommendation from her daughter, who has friends that live here.

“She says great things about Laramie, and that’s what I’ve found,” Owens said.

Owens has worked as a librarian since 2002 and lived in Colorado since 2004. She earned a master’s degree in library science from the University of Denver and has worked at libraries around Colorado since then.

Owens said her own childhood affinity for libraries is one reason she’s passionate about working with children. She hopes to make Laramie’s library an inviting place for young readers to develop a lifelong love of learning.

She also grew up with three younger siblings and other younger cousins, which brought out a knack for nurturing.

“Part of it is enjoying kids,” she said. “They have such a fresh look on everything, and they can cheer you up in a moment by smiling or giggling or getting excited about something and telling you about it.”

The youth services librarian manages the library’s collection of books for young readers, leads programming for youth, supervises two employees and works with schools and school librarians. The librarian also organizes the summer reading program.

Owens said her immediate focus is learning about library programs currently in place and getting to know the community. In the future, she’s considering additional programs focusing on early literacy and adding opportunities working parents.

Another interest she has is outreach. Owens said she wants to build community partnerships and attract people who haven’t visited the library in a while.

“Libraries have changed over the years, and we have something here for everyone. If we don’t, we’ll add it.” she said.

Owens replaces former youth services librarian Ruth Troyanek, who is now the library director. Troyanek said Owens brings a range of experiences to Albany County because she’s worked at different libraries in a variety of capacities. For example, she can step in at the information desk or help in circulation if needed.

“She’s highly trained to work with children but can also wear the many hats that we need a librarian to wear,” Troyanek said.

“She’s a very well-rounded librarian.”

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