“The library is like the information super highway with a soul and a smile,” described Jessica Votipka, the new Exeter Public Library Director.
Votipka began working as assistant library director in November of 2009 with Library Director Nina Bartu showing her the ropes. The job is a perfect fit for someone who not only ”loves literature and loves to socialize,” Votipka explained.
After graduating from Exeter High School in 1999, Votipka headed to Doane College where she earned a degree in English with a minor in Speech Communication. At Exeter High, Votipka was active in Speech, One Act, Band, Vocal, and Yearbook.
Eyeing her upcoming retirement, Bartu encouraged Votipka to enroll in certification courses mid 2011. “Nina has not only been an incredible mentor, but a great friend,” explained Votipka.
Library Board President Patty Demoss has been working with Nina for the past six years and “absolutely loved working with Nina. She is afantastic librarian who went so far beyond the call of duty. I feel like she was such a support a good teacher to Jessica and so glad the switch worked out when it did. Jessica will be great to work with and we [the library board] look forward to guiding her as she navigates this new path.”
After completing coursework Votipka is currently a Level 3 Provisional Library Director in the state of Nebraska. Classes from the Nebraska Library Commission she has taken have included a class in community and the library, a library governance class along with a library outreach class.
Keeping in mind the opportunity to expand the services in the library Votipka also took a course form the University of Wisconsin in Madison on grant writing specifically for libraries.
Votipka has some goals for the library, “I plan to buy the standard popular books but I want to get some of the patrons off the beaten path and send people in new directions.”
In keeping with that goal, Votipka has chosen some award winning books by different authors with “Salvage the Bones” by Jesmyn Ward as an example. “I picked this out after a lot of research. I enjoyed reading it but not everyone might. There's always the risk of ordering a flop.”
Votipka plans to keep many of the special events that are familiar to library patrons. Plans are already in the works for a Halloween Story Hour and Summer Reading Program. But Votipka hopes to add more programming and more activities for all age groups, especially the kids. She is looking to start a story hour for the younger set.
The services at the library will stay the same with the standard, books, computer use, books on tape, movies and reference books although Votipka is investigating the possibility of offering e-books for check-out.
When Votipka isn’t working at the library she often works for her aunt in her Nurse Practicioners office in Grand Island. Her free time is spent on some of her favorite hobbies, reading, knitting, selling vintage craft items on etsy and cooking. She also enjoys her weekend time with her boyfriend Mark, who lives in Omaha.