By Joshua Winata
The Cove Herald
Cherri Shelnutt has spent a lifetime learning new things, and now she's embarking on her latest adventure in learning the ropes at Copperas Cove Public Library.
Shelnutt was appointed as the city's new library director on April 28 following the retirement of Margaret "Peg" Fleet, who lead the department for 13 years.
The transition has been smooth, library staff members said, and Shelnutt is excited about the opportunities to extend the library's services to the community.
"I really like public libraries. They're my passion," she said. "I enjoy the opportunity to serve in one."
Shelnutt has lived in Copperas Cove for six years and was previously working on Fort Hood at the Casey Memorial Library as a public services librarian. She hopes to use some of her experience in outreach and community programming to communicate with citizens and find creative approaches to attracting people to the library.
"I like this library," Shelnutt said. "I have used it, and I just thought it would be a wonderful opportunity to work with the staff. They've been great and very welcoming."
The staff's commitment, she added, is one of the library's greatest strengths.
Shelnutt's background extends deep into the field of library information sciences. She obtained her master's degree from the University of South Florida and received a graduate certification from the University of North Texas. She's worked at the library for the Georgia Historical Society and most recently was working on a grant project for Texas Women's University that will help 30 librarians in rural areas get their master's degrees.
She's also well versed in new technologies, which is a necessity as the public library continues to grow and offer new resources.
"Much of the information is moving to a digital format, but I don't think it has to be just technology or just books," Shelnutt said. "I still like to read books in print or listen to them as I drive. I don't think books are going away, but technology offers many things in a concentrated way."
To keep abreast of new and creative ideas, Shelnutt also reads online blogs and continues to educate herself.
In spite of her busy days, Shelnutt always makes time to read. It may sound like common sense for a librarian, but with all the work before her– she was thrown into her job in the midst of the budget process, and summer reading programs kick off in a few weeks – it's a wonder in itself.
"Everyday, I try no matter how busy I am to have some time in the evening to read even a couple pages just for fun," Shelnutt said. "That's my treat to myself."
Contact Joshua Winata at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (254) 501-7476