Library administrative team ready to serve the community

Published 12:01 pm Monday, January 15, 2024


The Boyle County Public Library is a vibrant hub of information and activity for the Danville-Boyle County community. The library offers numerous services, programs, and online resources, and has a vast collection of digital and physical materials. BCPL continues to evolve to better meet the needs of the community.

In July of last year, Colleen Hall was appointed director of BCPL. Having served as the library’s assistant director since 2020, Hall was well suited to take over from retiring director Georgia de Araujo. Hall joined the library staff during the pandemic, and helped steer the programming staff during that difficult time.

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As director, in addition to shepherding the library, Hall will turn her focus outward, forging new community partnerships and growing relationships to help the library better meet the needs of Danville-Boyle County. Hall says she is excited to be working as Director at BCPL for many reasons. “It is a vibrant library, well beloved by the community. It has a vaunted reputation among libraries in the Bluegrass. I am honored to be here and experience the ways in which the library is woven into the community and imagine how that relationship can continue and grow in the future.”

When asked what she loves about libraries, Hall said that libraries literally change lives. “I cannot think of another institution that so fully engages with the community and makes such a bold invitation. You can dream, explore, research, play, experiment, be quiet, be loud, be lazy, or be industrious. On top of that, we offer programs and services to help people feed their curiosity or satisfy a need. The space itself is a refuge and launch pad where all members of the community are welcome. I think a library is an example of democracy at its best,” said Hall.

Prior to joining the BCPL staff, Hall served in various capacities at libraries in Kentucky and Missouri. “I was privileged to work in Children’s Services in Jessamine County for 10 years. It was an amazing experience to be there during a period of rapid growth for the county,” said Hall. She then moved to St. Louis and served as the Outreach Services Manager. “That job provided me with some real growing experiences keeping track of multiple bookmobiles, schools, seniors, homebound and preschool programs.” Hall feels fortunate to have also worked as the Director of Community Engagement at Lexington Public Library. “I believe the focus on building relationships in the community prepared me well to be at BCPL,” said Hall.

As Hall began serving in her new role as director, the search for an assistant director commenced. In light of the vision and strategic plan of the Library Board, it become clear that with Hall’s focus on building community relationships outside the library walls, the overseeing of the day-to-day operations of the library would become a larger undertaking, especially with the creation of the new Story Center. The board recognized the need for more than one person to make it possible, and the decision was made to split the role of Assistant Director into two positions: Library Services and Library Operations.

Library Services would oversee all of the public-facing services (e.g. outreach, programs, art exhibits, computer help, reference), ensuring the needs of the patrons are met. Library Operations would focus on the technical side and behind-the-scenes functions of the library, such as cataloging, processing, marketing, and IT, as well as overseeing the new Story Center. These roles will be filled by Jennifer Schroeder and Jason Cooper, respectively.

Get to know Jennifer Schroeder, Assistant Director of Library Services

Jennifer Schroeder’s time at BCPL started in January 2022 when she applied for a job at the Circulation Desk, then being promoted to Public Services Manager later that year. Her leadership made her an ideal candidate to step into the expanded role overseeing Library Services.

Schroeder earned an undergraduate degree in Art History and a graduate degree in Nonprofit Management. She relocated to Danville from Florida in 2017. “My husband and I wanted to experience seasons and a quieter life in a small college town, and Danville fit the description perfectly!”

As a child, Schroeder’s hometown library was her favorite place to spend hours discovering new authors and books to check out. She was a very shy and introverted kid, but libraries were a place where she felt a sense of belonging and peace.

“As a teenager I loved studying and completing my homework in libraries. My hometown library even had nature trails behind it, so I would often go on a hike outside after spending time inside surrounded by books,” said Schroeder. “To this day, reading books and taking long walks in nature are two of my favorite ways to spend time.”

When she first moved to Danville, one of her first ventures into town was to the library. It was a way to ground herself and meet some of her book-loving neighbors. “I attended adult crafting programs, researched information about the historic home I purchased, and checked out books about the Shakers, who have always fascinated me,” said Schroeder.

Prior to her time at BCPL, Schroeder managed a nonprofit, fair trade organization and store called Ten Thousand Villages of Orlando for 10 years. It was a program of the Mennonite Central Committee, which purchased hand-crafted items (jewelry, instruments, textiles and home accessories) from artisans in developing countries around the world.

In addition, she worked at nonprofit organizations including the Orlando Museum of Art; the Orlando Regional History Center; Canine Companions for Independence, and ArtHaus (a youth arts organization). At each of those organizations she was responsible for fundraising, marketing, volunteer coordination and programming/events. She has previously managed the children’s department at the Barnes and Noble Orlando store, worked for various other bookstores, and helped to coordinate school book fairs.

Schroeder is excited to be an Assistant Director at BCPL. “Since the first time I walked through the doors of our library, I have been so impressed with our collection of books and resources, our staff and our beautiful building. I enjoy my time at work and am grateful to be part of a historic organization that is a landmark in the community,” said Schroeder.

Her primary goal is to learn from patrons what materials, programs and resources they would like their library to provide. Schroeder would like to see the library continue to grow and evolve in order to meet the diverse needs of all Boyle County residents.

“I think it’s important to continue to grow our relationships and partnerships with other organizations and businesses in the community,” said Schroeder. “One of the things I’ve enjoyed most in my role at BCPL is meeting patrons and local business leaders who have family who go back generations in Kentucky. I have also met many new residents—like myself—who are thrilled with all that Boyle County has to offer. I am grateful for the welcoming spirit I’ve received in my short time as a Boyle County resident, and in appreciation I will do all I can to be an enthusiastic advocate for our community.”

Schroeder enjoys reading historical fiction and travel memoirs. Since moving to Kentucky she has discovered and fallen in love with Silas House’s books. She and her husband have been together for 24 years. They love to travel, recently visiting the “unbelievably beautiful country” of Croatia. Schroeder has 3 stepchildren and 6 grandchildren, including a new granddaughter. She also has a 6 year old whippet named Lola. Her favorite hobbies are reading, traveling, gardening, antiquing and making jewelry.

Get to know Jason Cooper, Assistant Director of Library Operations

Jason Cooper joined the BCPL staff in 2022 as the Technical Services manager, where he oversaw cataloging, processing, and other internal library functions.

He grew up mostly in Southern Indiana with a few childhood years spent in Louisville. He stayed in his hometown of New Albany, Indiana to pursue his undergraduate degree in music, and then took his master’s degree in Library Science at Indiana University Bloomington.

Cooper entered librarianship because it seemed like a good fit for a person who wanted to devote themselves to lifelong learning. “My parents and other relatives instilled in me the value of good citizenship,” said Cooper. “I see libraries as one of our strongest community institutions that support these values.”

He loves libraries and loves waking up every day and knowing that he will have the opportunity to interact with people, and that he might even help some of those people by meeting an informational need that they may have. “Spending my workdays in a place of learning and discovery is a kind of joy that few people get to experience,” said Cooper.

Prior to coming to BCPL, Cooper worked for 20 years in academic libraries. While Technical Services was primarily his focus, he regularly taught bibliographic instruction sessions and provided reference services. He also served as an academic advisor to students, and worked as a Title IX investigator for three years.

Cooper is excited to join the administration team at BCPL because he knows that he will have more of a hand in shaping the direction of the library. “Being on the management team here for a year has already given me the opportunity to solve work problems for our staff and make their work day more enjoyable and productive,” he said. “I’m particularly excited at the prospect of heading up our new Story Center initiative, which will become a hub for local and family history for the entire county.”

Cooper plans to build on the work he started as a manager by continuing to encourage productive communication. He wants to work with the managers and staff to help create a culture where people feel free to ask questions, share their ideas, and feel empowered to try new things without overly fearing that some of their ideas might fail.

When it comes to the library’s role in the community, Cooper hopes to help the library’s new administration strengthen its commitment to all of the people of our county. “While our main facility is located in Danville, our Bookmobile offers mobile services to the people of Perryville and Junction City. Our Story Center project will reach even further into all corners of the county, working in communities like Forkland,” said Cooper. “Our rural communities have a rich heritage and unique stories that we will help to preserve for generations to come.”

Cooper reads a lot of biographies. “I’m always fascinated by peoples’ life stories. I enjoy learning about how people have faced their challenges and become better versions of themselves in the process.” He has enjoyed reading about Kentucky history since returning to the Commonwealth in 2015. He also particularly enjoys the satirical works of his fellow Hoosier native Kurt Vonnegut, as well as books that make him laugh.

Although he didn’t continue his musical education, Cooper has remained an active singer over the years. In the last decade, he has travelled to Europe with a collegiate choral group, and has worked with several nearby groups including the Lexington Singers and the Kentucky Bach Choir. He also enjoys hiking and other physical activities. Cooper lives in Lexington with his wife and partner of 26 years, Jacqueline, and their two cats, Nyx, and Niall.

The BCPL administrative team looks forward to working with and serving the Danville-Boyle County community, and are excited about what the future holds.

The library is open Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, 9:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m.; Tuesday and Thursday, 9:30 a.m.-8 p.m.; and Saturday from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Chat with library staff using the live chat service on the library’s website or by texting (859)-545-8398.

The Boyle County Public Library serves the city of Danville and the surrounding communities, and is actively committed to enriching the lives of its patrons. The library is located at 307 W. Broadway in Danville.