New Bement Public Library Director Donna Techau and retiring director Melinda Glover.
By Doris Elmore
Melinda Glover is leaving her dream job after being Director of the Bement Pubic Library for 10 years. She started her position on November 8, 1990. Melinda has a BS in Education from the University of Illinois with emphasis in Literature.
Being part of a library began when Melinda was a child. She said she has always liked to read and has been a frequent library user. She said being a part of the library is a family tradition. She taught her children to love the library.
Melinda and husband Thomas moved to Bement 11 years ago. Thomas is retired from Caterpillar. They have one daughter, Kate and husband Tony Maduzia. They live in Mahomet with their three children, John 9, Angie 7 and Mike 4. Their children are library lovers too.
How did Melinda become the library director? Her daughter was browsing through the want ads and noticed the Bement Library was searching for a director. She was excited about the find and called her mom. “Your dream job is available mom,” Kate reported to her mom. Melinda applied for the position and was selected out of 2 or 3 other applicants. Melinda has loved every minute of being director. She has worked hard to establish additional programs and improvements during her 10-year tenure.
The most important values Melinda feels she has accomplished is to always make the library good for patrons with displays and materials and a pleasant place for the staff.
Melinda added they have re-arranged the library to be more user friendly. There is a kid’s area and one for teenagers, as well as a comfortable place for adults. There are G-rated movies, CD’s, books, magazines for all ages. Basically, they have increased these areas so everyone that comes in can relax and enjoy their time at the library.
Melinda did admit the pandemic has made things much different and they have had to come up with creative ideas. They closed for 2 ½ months (mid-March-May) when the COVID-19 pandemic began. They went to curb-side pick-up for two months and officially opened the end of July with some limitations.
Recently they had to close for another week and have the library sanitized after a staff member had a family member test positive for COVID.
It makes Melinda feel good to see people come in and check out library items while they are staying close to home during the pandemic.
Melinda is going to miss visiting with the many patrons she has met over the years. They have started out as patrons and become friends.
Since Melinda is a big reader, she will be visiting the library in a different role, she becomes a patron again. When the pandemic is better or over, Melinda and Thomas would like to do some traveling, but for now she will be content traveling with a good book sitting at home in her easy chair.
When asked what she has enjoyed most at the library, Melinda remarked that the summer reading program has always been a favorite. Some examples of the programs Melinda remembers vividly include: A standard poodle service dog came to visit the library to help children feel comfortable reading out loud. They enjoy reading to the dog.
Another program was a service dog that worked with his master detecting their highs and lows of diabetes.
Former Postmistress Jodi Shonkwiler wrote children’s books about Dachsunds. She brought two of her dogs to the library to visit while she read her books to the children.
Another exciting program for the children was when the Bement Fire Department brought a pumper truck to the library. The kids were allowed to climb on the truck and investigate how it worked. They loved pretending to drive the big truck.
“I will miss being director, but I am confident I am leaving the library in good hands. My successor, Donna Techau is great and has good ideas,” says Melinda.
Melinda is closing one chapter of her life, and starting another. Thank You Melinda for your service to the Bement community.
Donna Techau has taken on her new duties as Director and is excited about continuing what Melinda has set in place.
Donna has a BS degree in Nursing and back in the 90’s she worked in Intensive Care in open heart surgery. She left that field to go to seminary and obtained a Master of Art degree in the History of Christian Thought in Kansas City.
She moved to Chicago to begin her Doctorate in Theology. While there she became Associate Director of the Center for Ethics & Values at Northwestern for five years. She then worked at Kaplan Higher Education in Chicago as Senior Operations Manager & Product Owner of Online Educational Technologies.
Donna moved to Central Illinois in 2018 to help care for her mother who was ill. Her mother passed away and she now shares a home with her father, Joseph Techau.
Donna says she is academic at heart. She reads a lot and has spent countless hours in libraries over the years. Three people were interviewed for the director position and Donna was selected for the job.
Donna states that Melinda has set her up to be successful. She will continue the good direction already in place. She is looking forward to working with the school and community to address their needs.
This should be a smooth transition for the library, staff and patrons. Welcome Donna, enjoy your new position as director.