Name: Jenny Shonk
Your position: Continuing Education and Outreach Librarian at Finger Lakes Library System (FLLS). My official description is: Responsible for developing methods of improving libraries and library services in the areas of adult services, reference, and outreach. Provides continuing education and support to member libraries and FLLS staff.
Educational Background: B.S. in Childhood Education and M.S. in Literacy Education, SUNY Cortland; MLIS from San Jose State University (CA).
What is most interesting about your position? A big portion of my job involves working with prison librarians in the FLLS service area. Learning about the challenges of being a prison librarian and getting the chance to visit the facilities was eye opening and exciting. These librarians do an incredible job of providing education, entertainment, and access to incarcerated individuals, all with very limited internet and resources. I am in awe of them.
What has been your biggest professional challenge? I wish I would have gotten my MLIS much sooner, but I am glad I got it when I did!
What was your background before becoming a librarian? My original plan was to become a reading teacher, then the economy crashed and teaching jobs were nonexistent. My former director at the Cortland Free Library (where I worked as a teenager) asked if I would like to teach computer skills to adults as part of a NYS grant. I fell in love with librarianship and I’ve never looked back!
What would you be doing if you weren't a librarian? I recently became fascinated with nursing and radiology. I think the medical field is so exciting and it would still involve helping people.
What is the most interesting issue in librarianship today? The question of whether libraries are neutral or not.
What are you most proud of? I completely overhauled the marketing for our annual Outreach Mini-Grant cycle and the total ask increased 180% from 2016 to 2017. I also started holding an annual Grant Writing Workshop for our member libraries. I am proud that I was able to help our member libraries become better grant writers.
What other organizations are you involved with? I am the NYLA CORT (Correctional Outreach Resource Team) treasurer. I am also a member of LAR (Library Access Round Table), RASS (Reference and Adult Services), and RLRT (Rural Libraries Roundtable) at NYLA.
What advice would you give to a new librarian? Remember why you started.
What software/web tools do you use regularly? I am the primary technology trainer for FLLS so I have to stay up to date on our ILS (Polaris) and eContent platforms (rbDigital, OverDrive, Hoopla). I also use Canva for all my marketing. It is just so easy and fun to use!
Favorite social media platform:   Instagram! I regularly post for @fingerlakeslibrarysystem as part of my position. Personally, I created an account for my dog in 2017 and it has amassed over 1,100 followers, which is so funny to me. Check out @labnamedmolly to see some cute pictures of Molly Rae.
Favorite blog or website:  I check out BuzzFeed ( ) or Book Riot ( ) almost every day. There are a lot of funny articles and excellent book suggestions.
What do you do to relax?   I watch Netflix and I love a good mystery novel. I like swimming and hiking in the summer and ice skating in the winter. I also spend a lot of time with my dog which can relax me or stress me, depending on what kind of trouble she’s getting into.
What is the most daring thing you've ever done?   I presented at NYLA in November to over 120 people. That is one of the biggest crowds I’ve ever spoken in front of. It was nerve-wracking but I am glad I did it.
What would you like to learn?   My goal for the last few years has been to learn how to speak French and learn how to paint (watercolor). I really have to stay focused next year and not let life get in the way.
Is there anything about you that others would be surprised to know?   I am obsessed with the TV series, The Office. I have to restrain myself from bringing it up in everyday conversation.

Thanks Jenny!