BROOKVILLE — Starting January 2,2018, Janine Strohm, the current library director for the Redbank Valley Public Library, will officially take over for Rose Pituch as the director of the Rebecca M. Arthurs Library in Brookville.
Strohm and her family live in Corsica. She has a degree in Library Science from Clarion University, but she attributes the start of her career to her experience coming to the Arthurs Library as a young mother. “I started coming to library when my oldest daughter was two and a half with Miss Beth,” Strohm recalled. “She was wonderful. Watching her, I thought, ‘Oh man, that’s an actual job you can do?’”
Soon after, when that position opened, Strohm became the new children’s coordinator at the Arthurs Library. “I did the summer reading program and everything,” she said. “I just really loved it.” It was during this time that she began working on her degree at Clarion University. Once she graduated in 2016, a friend encouraged her to apply for an opening as at the Redbank Valley Library as the Library Director. That friend was Rose Pituch.
Strohm admitted that she was surprised to hear when Pituch announced her plans to retire given the commitment and caring she had demonstrated throughout her career.
And although Strohm says she enjoyed working at the Redbank Valley Library and loved the community there, she is grateful for the opportunity to return to her home library.
“The people here are wonderful,” she said. “They are so awesome.”
During her time transitioning to the position, Strohm says she is focused on working with Pituch to get a better understanding of the contacts and connections involved in running the library in Brookville. She is also learning more about the library’s relationship with the schools and other groups in the community.
In particular, she plans to expand upon the library’s children’s programming. But in general, Strohm says she believes that people need libraries now more than ever and she wants to dedicate herself to serving each person’s individual needs.
“A lot of the things here are already established and I would like to continue with them,” Strohm explained. “But I’m open to any opportunity that comes along. I would love to have the library be like a community center where people can come for maybe a healthcare class or a financial class. Obviously we will have reference books and technology, but even just to use the building.”
Strohm says that in many ways, she hopes to follow in Pituch’s footsteps, particularly when it comes to creating a warm and inviting atmosphere for library patrons.
“Rose absolutely cares about all her patrons,” Strohm said. “Each individual person. And she just has such a nice presence around people and wanting to bring them together. She definitely did that for me and she inspired me.”
Most of all, Strohm recognizes the responsibility of serving a community where she and her family live. She hopes that any changes she does make to the library down the road will improve a community she knows and love, “It’s wonderful to think that I can change the lives of people that I know and make it better.”