The Ward County Public Library, which serves Ward County and parts of Mountrail County, welcomed a new administrator in August. The new employee, Julie Burkhart, has cultivated a lifelong love of reading and she's enjoying her new job.
"I like meeting the people and seeing their faces light up because they're excited about a book. I like visiting with all the different people who come into the library, and I like to see when they're excited on the bookmobile because we remembered to bring their book," Burkhart said.
The Ward County Library has a library in Minot and one in Kenmare, and has a bookmobile that travels to surrounding communities and schools. Through the course of this year, Burkhart said, about 4,800 individuals have visited the bookmobile.
Katina Tengesdal/MDN •
Julie Burkhart, administrator for the Ward County Public Library, testifies to her love of books at the library’s office in Minot.
"We have our loyal, faithful patrons, which has been fantastic. They're also patient, because in some places, we can only come once a month," Burkhart said.
One of Burkhart's first memories of the joy of reading comes from her kindergarten days growing up in Kindred. The Fargo public library was 20 minutes away, and the kindergarten teacher took her four students there to check out books.
"That was my first trip to the library, and it was exciting. We got to check out books! That made quite an impression on me," Burkhart said.
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Burkhart pursued her interest in books further, and taught English in Kenmare for 18 years. While she has missed her students, she is still enjoying her current position, and she commutes from Kenmare each day to Minot.
"A friend of mine said, 'You need to do something fun.' I thought, I should work in a library, and it came true," Burkhart said.
"The first day of school was hard for me, I got to see the kids that day, and they'll say they miss you. I miss them, too; but I love this job. I loved teaching and I never thought I'd find anything I loved more other than books. You've got to love books," she added.
As administrator of the library, Burkhart is responsible for ordering new books, paperwork and taking care of bills and employees. She's enjoyed learning about what patrons are eager to read.
"It's fun learning about what people like to read. We've had a lot of requests. Lately, they have been for a lot of political stories, such as books about McCain and Obama, and the book written about Palin. They want to know about these people, and I think that's great," Burkhart said.
For Burkhart, the important part of her job is making sure that readers have the opportunity to enjoy new books.
"I think the most important thing is to get books to people so they can enjoy new material, so they can keep reading anything they can get their hands on," Burkhart said.