Evergreen and Conifer Library Manager Monica Rezac arrived in Evergreen by way of Kansas City and Chicago. She considers herself a Midwestern girl, but “I love living in Colorado,” she says.
She was born in Grand Forks, North Dakota, but her family moved to Kansas City where she spent the majority of her childhood. She became a cosmetic sales manager for Estee Lauder Companies, a job that took her to Chicago and then, following a promotion, to Denver in 2007. Initially, she lived in the metro area; then, after meeting the man who would become her husband, she relocated to Pine in 2011. Now they live along the 285 Corridor.
So, how does someone with a successful career in cosmetic sales become a library manager? “I loved helping people,” she explains. “And I really wanted to make a shift into something that was more community-focused where I could put those same skills to work in the non-profit field.”
While still working for Estee Lauder Companies, Monica began paging part time at Columbine Library. “I wanted to see what the library world was all about, and I fell in love with it,” she says. She decided to study library science. From there, she moved into a position as a supervisor at The Evergreen Library in 2012. “I had a great mentor in Priscilla Winter, the previous manager. She was a great person to learn from, and when she retired, I was fortunate enough to step into this role. Evergreen is a unique and wonderful community, and the same is true of our staff, as well. They’re a great group of individuals, dedicated to supporting our programs and assisting the customers we serve.”
As manager of both the Evergreen and Conifer branches, Monica divides her time between the two locations, but says she spends more time at Evergreen. Each location is very supportive of the other, she says, which makes that balance easier.
“No two days are ever the same. In addition to my day-to-day duties, I oversee staff training for our library systems, and I represent Evergreen and Conifer in system-wide meetings. We work together on initiatives that impact all locations; I think it’s very important to bring the perspective of the communities each of us represent to these meetings. I strongly believe in the services that libraries provide, and I enjoy participating in that process.”
What does she do in her spare time? “Well, there isn’t a lot of that right now,” she laughs. “But Yoga is a big part of my life. And my husband is a veterinarian, so we have a lot of animals to look after. We have dogs and cats; we’ve had chickens in the past, and we’re getting ready to add some more of those again.”
Finally, how does she feel about the concern that, in the face of ever-increasing technological advancement where information is so readily available to nearly everyone at the tap of a computer key, libraries might eventually face extinction?
“I don’t believe libraries are going anywhere,” Monica avows. “They provide so much in the way of programs, services and events. First of all, there’s the personal touch you can’t get from looking on the internet. We have people who help you drill down to the specific information you need. There’s an in-depth, personal approach a skilled staff member gives you that you won’t find elsewhere.
“Our Evergreen and Conifer branches offer so much,” she continues. “People come in to use our Wi-Fi. We have Yoga classes and a variety of programs. Tutors and their students take advantage of our study rooms. We provide meeting space for all kinds of local organizations and businesses.
"Recently, we’ve begun to implement Artists-in-Residence programs that enable local artists to display their talents. In our Conifer branch, we have a staff member who is an illustrator and painter. This has led to a new program, ‘The Art House at Conifer’ in which he offers guidance on patrons’ artwork. He has also done demonstrations in Evergreen, and we’d like to implement a similar program in the Evergreen Library. We’ve already had a local artist do on-site pastel work, allowing patrons to observe the process. It’s a fun addition to all of the other services we continue to provide.”
Monica is very happy at the recent expansion of the library hours, after several years of cut-backs in that area. “Evergreen is now open 9 am to 8 pm Mondays through Thursdays, 9 am to 5 pm on Fridays and Saturdays, and on Sundays, we’re open from noon to 5 pm.”
“It’s a real pleasure to have the opportunity to meet and interact with the people who visit us and like to take advantage of our services.”