Nancy Tomek missed working with kids — and this summer she’ll get to see hundreds each week on Spring Street.
As librarian at Holy Trinity School in Avon for a decade and then in the Lorain Public Library System for 13 years, she got to spend a lot of time with toddlers, tykes, tweens, and teens. But her time with them dwindled as Tomek worked part-time at the Westlake Porter Library at Cuyahoga Community College.
So when a full-time youth services manager spot opened this winter at the Amherst Public Library, she jumped at the chance.
Tomek steps into the children’s librarian spot held for many years by Cheryl Ashton, who retired in January.
“My only experience with Amherst before was Hot Dog Heaven and sledding” at the former Golden Acres Nursing Home, she laughed. “Since I got here, I’ve been exploring and I’m in love with the town.”
In the past couple of months, Tomek has rallied teenage volunteers to help with story times, craft preparation, a bake sale, and summer reading registration. She organized the annual student art show, is excited about the library’s summer scavenger hunt, and plans to hold teen gaming days in the fall.
The biggest bash on her radar is the summer reading program, which this year will have the theme, “Plant a Seed: Read.” It will feature a rain barrel drawing, bowling night, movie night, goodie bags, and three grand prizes.
Tomek said she wants to foster more teen involvement at the library. Young children are often excited, but she feels they have to be won over as they grow into high school — and some of those who head to the library after school feel they’re an annoyance.
“They shouldn’t feel that way,” Tomek said. “They need to know they are wanted here… I want to show the little kids there’s someone to look up to and I want to show our older people that these are helpful teens,” she said.
Jason Hawk can be reached at 440-988-2801 or @EditorHawk on Twitter.