Trails Regional Library Services Coordinator Sara Evans has helped the library provide the community with information and educational events for four years.

Evans has been employed at various libraries since 2009.

During her time at school, she worked at a law library on the University of Missouri — Kansas City campus and later obtained her master’s degree in library science.

Evans coordinates services for all eight Trails Regional Library locations.

Due to COVID-19, all of the branches are currently closed to the public but curbside service is being provided.

Evans said the library is trying to continue offering as many programs and services as it can such as the Summer Reading Program.

“We’re really trying to meet needs even though we can’t provide the in-person service,” Evans said.

What would surprise people most to learn about your job?

“Going back to the stereotypes of librarians, we don’t just sit in dusty bookshelves and wait for people to come to us. With how people are getting information now, I think they would be surprised to know that we’re more outreach based to find out where information deficits are in our communities. We are actually moving towards more partnerships with community organizations to find out from them what their clients need help with and what kind of information needs they have. We usually try to focus on finding that missing link and filling it rather than waiting for people to come to us and look in a book for information. We know they don’t really function that way as much anymore, there’s a lot more online and so we’re more focused on an outward approach rather than the book repository that people kind of think of when they think of libraries.”

What’s the most common question you get about what you do?

“We don’t get to read all day or really at all at work, so I guess the most common question would be, ‘Do you get to read all day?’ And it’s probably a close tie with the other question I get which is, ‘Can you tell me my library card number?’ I get asked that by a lot of acquaintances and colleagues. Even when I’m out people will ask me questions about their library account. I’m always happy to help, but that’s pretty common too.”

What is the most challenging aspect of your job?

“A lot of information literacy aspects of our job or people who think libraries aren’t important because they have backwards ideas of what we do now. I think it’s challenging to always be promoting the library and what we do. I think promotion and education about our services and how we’re here to help people despite people using Google. Google isn’t the end of libraries. So I think it’s the advocacy and education of libraries.”

What is the most rewarding aspect of your job or career?

“It’s honestly when you help a patron and our patrons are just so grateful for the services that we offer that when we’re helping them, even if it’s something that’s easy for me like connecting them to their library card or helping them find something or helping them learn how to use their new Kindle. They’re just so appreciative and it makes me feel like I’ve helped someone. Even if it’s easy for you, it’s a big deal for them, so I think it’s the gratitude of our patrons that’s the most rewarding thing.”

Would 10-year-old you be surprised that you are in this position or field?

“I don’t think so. I’ve wanted to be a librarian since I was little. I think my 10-year-old self would be kind of upset that I’m not just doing story time all the time, but I do get to do a lot more stuff. I do a lot of art programs. I think my 10-year-old self would be pretty happy with where I am right now.”

What advice would you give someone starting a job similar to yours?

“To stay comfortable with change. The field has obviously changed a lot even in the past five or 10 years. So being willing to be flexible and adapt to new technology and new ways of finding information. Make sure you’re ready for the tough questions when people say, ‘Libraries aren’t relevant anymore.’”

Staff Writer Dustin Steinhoff can be reached by emailing dustin.steinhoff@dsjnow.com or by calling (660) 747-8123.

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