Romtvedt, who lives outside Vernonia off Keasey Road with her young family, brings a professional education and experience in several other library systems. She says she is excited by the opportunity to work in her own hometown.
“One of my favorite things to hear as a librarian is: ‘I didn’t know where to start with this question, so I came to the library,’” said Romtvedt.
Romtvedt says she was interested in working in libraries from a young age. She grew up in West Salem, OR and enjoyed spending time at the local branch of her local library. “It was not much bigger than this Vernonia Library and I spent a lot of time there,” remembers Romtvedt. “As a kid I envisioned being the Librarian there.”
Romtvedt did end up volunteering at her local library as a high school student, and enjoyed straightening the children’s area and creating displays. “I had a lot of fun with that,” she says.
Romtvedt attended George Fox University, majoring in Writing and Literature, graduating in 2005. While at George Fox Romtvedt did a work/study program at the university library. She also met her soon to be husband Brady Romtvedt at George Fox. Following graduation they moved together to Texas where Brady worked on a Master’s Degree in Philosophy from Baylor University.
Shannon worked at the local Waco Public Library, where her co-workers encouraged her to pursue additional education. “I knew we were going to be in Texas for a while, so I thought I might explore making library work a career,” says Romtvedt. She enrolled in the University of North Texas and earned a Master’s Degree in Library Science in 2007.
Shannon says Brady had intended to pursue a Ph.D. and become a college professor but instead decided he wanted to return to Oregon. With Master’s Degrees in hand, the Romtvedts came home to Salem. “We chose Oregon,” says Romtvedt. “We saw Texas and had a great time touring the southwest while we were there, but we knew Oregon was our home.”
After working at the Salem Public Library, Romtvedt was offered a position at the Forest Grove Library in 2008. Meanwhile Brady switched gears and became a brewer at the McMenamins’ Cornelius Pass Roadhouse.
After living in apartments in Beaverton, the Romtvedts began looking for a place to settle down. They had ridden the Banks-Vernonia Trail and found rural Vernonia in 2010, which felt right. “We thought, ‘Yes, this is our home,’” says Romtvedt. “We definitely chose to live in Vernonia.”
Romtvedt continued to work in the Washington County Library system, both at the Forest Grove Library and filling in at the Hillsboro Public Library.
The Romtvedts welcomed son Jack to the family in March of 2013. Shannon began volunteering at the Vernonia Library, organizing and leading the monthly “Baby and Toddler Time” program. Romtvedt says Jack loves coming to this library and talks about, “books, movies and chairs.” Romtvedt says working at her local library has several benefits, one of which is that Jack and Brady can often drop by to say hello.
With just over a month at her new position, (she started in mid-December) Romtvedt says she is spending most of her time learning the system, getting familiar with the city administration, and meeting library customers. “Starting a new job is always a challenge,” says Romtvedt. “I’ve had a really warm welcome from the staff and from our patrons.”
Romtvedt says she is excited about her new position and getting to know the patrons and what they are looking for from their library. “What I really enjoy about working in the library is that the books and the materials are the basics, but what a library is really meant to do is fit the needs of the community,” explains Romtvedt. “I’m really looking forward to working with local businesses and community groups to collaborate on programs and just hearing the ideas of people in the community about what they want to see happening at their library. There are so many great ideas out there.” Romtvedt says she is also interested in exploring ways to work jointly with the School District to offer programming for children and youth.
Romtvedt says she had her first meetings with the Vernonia Library Board and with the Friends of the Library and received a warm welcome from both groups. “They are super supportive and a great resource,” says Romtvedt. “The library needs our Friends. A lot of our programs, our new materials and services like our OMSI pass are funded by the Friends of the Library. I love the Friends!”
Romtvedt also says she is looking forward to communicating with the community about the library on a regular basis with a monthly column, ‘On the Shelves’ in Vernonia’s Voice, as well as a regular calendar feature called ‘What’s Happening at the Vernonia Library.’ “With a background in writing and literature I enjoy the opportunity to write and it’s fun to contribute. It’s great having programs but people need to know that we’re having programs.”
Vernonia’s Voice is pleased to welcome our new Library Director Shannon Romtvedt.