By SHERRY VAN ARSDALL
THE GOSHEN NEWS
The sound of footsteps hurrying down the stairs to the children’s department at the Goshen Public Library is music to Margaret Kownover, the head of children’s services.
Especially when it’s for programs like the Mother Goose Lapsit, Story Time Express, Book Clubs or special events.
“Some days are quiet but it can be a humming place with story times,” Kownover said. “The favorite part of my job is overriding the programs. I love getting kids involved in them and see them immerse themselves. It’s the key to knowing about something or getting them interested in something.”
Being creative is another part of her job she really likes, she said.
“I like the creative process, thinking up details and being inspired. I get ideas for programs from kids themselves,” Kownover said. “I love doing book club for first- and-second-graders and see them improve their reading, get into a book and get excited about it.”
She’s been at the library for five years and has seen children attending the preschool programs grow up to attend school.
“I love going out to the schools and doing programs, especially when kids come in here and say, ‘I saw you at my school.’ There is a connection,” the librarian said, smiling. “The human connection of getting to know them and their families. There are many lovely families and lovely people in this community.”
She worked at the library in LaPorte and said she still keeps in contact with children from there and they still tell her what they are reading.
There are 40,917 books in the children’s department and her job includes ordering new books, rearranging books and, “removing those that have been used a lot and loved,” she said.
She also enjoys watching the faces of children when they find out the limit for checking out books is 100 per card at a time.
“The kids jaws drop when they are told that. They love checking out their own books at the self-checkout stations,” she added.
Kownover hasn’t always been a librarian.
“I was a homemaker. I also had a kidney patient and I was his medical assistant. I put him on dialysis three times a week, then he got a transplant and I had to look for something to do,” she said. “My daughter was attending preschool story time and the librarian noticed how much I enjoyed being at the library. I told her I’d like to do that.”
And it so happened there was an opening for a page position, she said.
“I applied and got the position. I loved it and got promoted to Clerk and then promoted to Clerk 2, which had more responsibility,” Kownover said. “The librarian told me I should go to library school. I didn’t know there was such a thing.”
Her family lived in the state of Washington at the time, so she applied at the University of Washington and Indiana University.
“I was accepted at IU and moved my family out here and we love it, love it, love it here in Indiana,” she said. “It’s a great place to live and my husband, Tom, was born and raised in Granger.”
When she’s not behind her desk at the library or presenting programs to children, Kownover enjoys nature and being outdoors with her husband. They like to go hiking at different state parks and tend to their garden in the spring, summer and fall.
“We love to read and we don’t watch television at all. My children and grandchildren love to read and don’t watch television, either,” she said. “I love what I do and can’t imagine doing anything else. I like the people I work with and we make a good team.”