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Printed from the Charlotte Observer - www.CharlotteObserver.com
Posted: Wednesday, Aug. 25, 2010

Library manager makes reading fun

Timina Stengel
Published in: Mooresville News
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    Jo Ann Rodgers, the library manager at Huntersville's North County Regional public library, is all about making the library experience fun.

    "I love to have fun," Rodgers said.

    And Rodgers is a firm believer that if people find reading fun at a young age, they'll be lifelong readers.

    The oldest of six children raised in Charlotte, Rodgers remembers that her neighbor was a librarian.

    "She would always bring me books. She would bring me mysteries. ... I read a lot."

    Rodgers has been in the library profession for the past three decades.

    She began her career as a children's storyteller in the main library downtown as part of a work-study program through UNC Charlotte.

    "It was a great opportunity," said Rodgers.

    Eventually, she earned her bachelor of arts in human services from UNCC and her master's in library and information sciences from the University of South Carolina.

    Although she worked briefly as a reference librarian, Rodgers said her heart was in working at a public library.

    "Every day is different," Rodgers said of working in the library. "I'm out there shelving books, emptying the book drop, not just sitting behind a desk."

    In addition to her career with the Mecklenburg County library system, Rodgers, now a Huntersville resident, is proud of her two adult daughters, Malia Rodgers and Crystal Westbrook, and her husband of 41 years, Jimmy. Spend five minutes with Rodgers, and it's obvious that family and reading go hand in hand for her.

    Rodgers brags about all the hours Jimmy volunteers with the library. He shares his wife's passion for reading and attends community events, including one at Birkdale Village recently where the entire family was present.

    Rodgers is recruiting volunteers for the North County Regional Library, which needs greeters, people to help with self-checkout and people with an expertise in computers to teach basic how-to classes.

    She hopes to recruit more volunteers so the library can open an additional day of the week. Anyone interested in volunteering may contact Linda Bandieramonte, the volunteer coordinator, by stopping in or calling 704-416-6000.

    Timina Stengel is a freelance writer who lives in Cornelius. Have a story idea for Timina? E-mail her at timina@jstengel.net.

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