In 2001, while attending Eureka College in Illinois, Erinn Conness went to see the first Harry Potter movie with her mother. After that, she was hooked on the world of Harry Potter.
“I saw the first movie and then I had to read all of the books,” Conness, native of Carlisle, Ohio, said. “I wouldn’t do what I do if that hadn’t happen.”
Since high school, she knew she wanted to get a degree in English and thought she would be a teacher. But, after obtaining her undergrad in 2002, she decided to go to the University of Kentucky and get a master’s degree in library and information science.
Knowing she wanted to work with kids, she decided to apply for a youth services librarian position at the Paul Sawyier Public Library. She started there in March 2014, and three months later, she was promoted to youth services coordinator — a position she has held now for 15 years.
FRANK.: Why did you decide to work in the library field?
Conness: I was headed down the path to be a teacher in high school. I knew I wanted to work with kids in some way. I always worked in libraries. In high school, I worked in the library as an assistant, and in college, I worked at the library.
I’m naturally a curious person — or I’m just nosy. I liked to learn something knew every day and library work lends itself to that.
FRANK.: What is your favorite part about working at the library?
Conness: I enjoy watching the world open up to kids. To see them connect with books and become readers.
FRANK.: What are some of the major changes that have happened since you’ve been at the library?
Conness: The big project that we’ve really been working on for more than 10 years, is the children interactive activities in the new children’s area. We have a storybook castle, ball run, a giant light bright and the literary card catalogue.
I helped with a lot of the design in the new children’s area. We were able to come up with some big ideas, and the board was supportive — both financially and philosophically. We were able to do it.
FRANK.: What do you hope visitors to the library walk away with?
Conness: I hope they walk away with a sense of belonging. That this is a place that welcomes them, whoever they are. We have books, movies and digital materials and events. Hopefully they leave saying, “I can not wait to come back.”
For the parents who come to story time, I want them to leave with reassurance that what they’re working on with their child is appropriate and it is going to help their child succeed. We work hard to make sure the staff is well versed in development and to model those behaviors to parents.
FRANK.: What’s coming up next at the library?
Conness: The Summer Reading program preregistration starts in late May. We’ll have a kickoff pool party June 6, 7 and 10 at Juniper Hill Aquatic Center. Participants can register on the library’s website.
The theme this year is “A universe of stories.” We’re going to do space activities. Also this summer, we’ll have a puppet show and the Cincinnati Circus. Every summer I try to top myself with my planning, which is increasingly difficult. This summer, I found an iceless ice skating rink. One Saturday in June, the River Room will be transformed into an ice skating rink.
We really try to have something for everyone. Everything we do for Summer Reading is free. If people are looking for a great way to keep their kids’ brains working and keep their kids entertained this summer, we almost have something every day this summer.
FRANK.: What do you like about Frankfort?
Conness: I think this community is amazing. I think the changes in Frankfort are super exciting to see happen. There’s a lot of community support. There’s no one at this library that is not trying to make it a better place for the community. To get to work with this group is pretty exciting.
FRANK.: What do you do when you’re not at the library?
Conness: I’m married. My husband is Nick Conness. We have two boys, Henry, 5, and Beau, 3. We’re very busy with them. They play soccer and basketball. I like to cook and garden.