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The latest from the library


By Kathy Pillatzki
Assistant Director
Henry County Library System

  Meet our newest team member! Jennifer Lautzenheiser has joined our staff as Assistant Director for Public Services. She comes to us from Houston County, where she was head of circulation at the Perry library. She has an Associate of Arts in accounting, a Bachelor of Science in Organizational Leadership from Urbana University, and a Master of Library and Information Science from Valdosta State University, where she was a Laura Bush “Librarians Build Community” Fellowship Scholar. She’s also a veteran of the Ohio US Army National Guard.

  One of Jennifer’s first initiatives, and one you will notice on your next library visit, is the Thanksgiving Trees that currently grace each branch. Some of them are part of bulletin board displays, while others are freestanding, and at least one is an actual tree branch, so please take a moment to check out the one at your library.

  When you visit us, you’ll be given a paper cutout of a leaf, and asked to write down something you appreciate about your library. It can be big or small, anything that your library has or does that enriches your life in some way. The leaves will then be hung from the Thanksgiving Tree to brighten your library.

  Why are we doing this? In recent years your libraries, like most public services, were hard-hit by the economic downturn. We’ve had to make cuts and sacrifices, scale back some plans and delay others. At the same time, we have never wavered in our commitment to give the public the best access to information and services that we possibly could and to make the most of every asset at our disposal.

  Now we are ready to move forward. The economy – and library funding with it – is making a slow recovery. We’re optimistic about the future of public libraries and our community. As we make plans and set goals, we decided that a good way to start is with one question: what are we doing right?

  The Thanksgiving Tree project gives you, the people who use and fund the libraries, a chance to express what libraries mean to you and which resources you rely on. This should give us a good idea of what we are already getting right, so we can focus our attention where improvements are needed. It will also provide us with concrete examples of the many ways public libraries enrich lives, so that we can share your stories with those who provide our funding.

  The Thanksgiving Tree project will be up and running through the first week in December. If you can’t visit a library in person, feel free to leave a comment on our Facebook page at or through the contact form on our website,

  In the coming weeks, Jennifer will be working in all five library branches, getting to know the staff and patrons, becoming familiar with day-to-day operations, and checking out the Thankfulness Trees. If you see a new face at your local branch, be sure to say hello and welcome her to Henry County!



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