Hello all! “Behind the Nametag” is a new series we are starting here at Benson Memorial Library to tell the stories of some of our community members! We are performing interviews with some of the people you see everyday – the faces who greet you at the store in the morning, or help you when you’re sick. People who you “know” but don’t really know. We are here to change that!
Our first Behind the Nametag interview is for National Librarian Day (this Sunday, April 16th) and none other than our own Executive Director of Benson Memorial Library, Justin Hoenke.
As a tiny tot in the greater Pittsburgh area, Justin never thought that at 35-years-old he would become the director of a library in the southeast corner of Crawford County, Pennsylvania. In his early 20s, he graduated from Edinboro University of Pennsylvania with a creative writing degree and was not sure where life would take him. Justin always wanted to be like his dad who made and sold eyeglasses in Pittsburgh. The Hoenkes were always good at getting people excited about things and connecting members of the community. So, he put his skills to the test at the encouragement of his mother-in-law, and enrolled at Clarion University in the library science master’s degree program.
After graduating, Justin worked as a Teen Librarian in Cape May, New Jersey and Portland, Maine. He then headed to Chattanooga, Tennessee to be the Head of Teen/Tween Services. Two kids later, he was ready to move forward in his career and applied for the executive director position at Benson Memorial Library in Titusville, Pennsylvania. To his delight, and the delight of his wife Haley and two boys, Finn and Aero, he was hired and the Hoenkes moved closer to home.
Justin advocates for opening ourselves up to more pure, fun experiences – “feel the flow”, he terms it. Kids are more open to experience and creativity, he explained, and adults so easily become closed off in these areas. One of his goals is to help the entire community, from childhood through adulthood, to experience new things and open themselves up to fun. He has certainly done so thus far in Titusville.
Justin’s favorite thing about his job is that he gets the opportunity to interact with the
whole community and has the power and opportunity to make a tangible, positive difference for everyone. He also prioritizes doing positive things for his employees.
The newest project at the library is getting ready for Summer Reading 2017 and Justin is excited to watch the library come alive during this time. One of his biggest goals is to make the library a hub for the community to gather and share information. The Benson Memorial Library is a repository, not just of books, but of knowledge for lifelong learning.
The library is also actively working toward bringing fiber internet to our patrons. Fiber internet provides super-fast connection speeds and will have an amazing impact on our ability to serve.
“I really just want to make everybody smile,” Justin says with a big smile of his own at the end of the interview. Well, Justin, mission accomplished.
If you know someone who should be featured on “Behind the Nametag” just let us know by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org! We would love to hear from you!