Many things have changed since Youth Collection Librarian JoAnn Prout first started working for OPL in 1986 as children’s library specialist. Each morning, when Prout came to work at W. Clarke Swanson Branch, she and her co-worker Patrick Esser would stamp 1,000 due date cards, type paper library cards from the previous day’s applications, and file the new cards in drawers. These tasks were just part of the daily operations that needed to take place before Prout could focus her energies on what she most enjoyed—helping to provide a wonderful library experience for children.
Prout was drawn to librarianship because of the opportunity to work with kids. For years, she helped children’s librarians with whatever they needed for storytimes and programs. She was promoted to a children’s librarian position in 1999 at Florence Branch, and the next 10 years at that location were among the most memorable of her 30 years at OPL.
“Working with children, parents, and educators made me feel as though I was providing a meaningful experience to the community through storytimes, programs, and outreach visits. I felt appreciated and valued that what I did mattered to someone,” said Prout.
Prout went on to become manager of the Florence Branch, before moving to W. Dale Clark Main Library in 2010 to become the youth collection librarian. In this position, Prout purchased all children’s and young adult materials systemwide.
“I diligently tried my best to select appropriate materials for OPL and have hopefully made an impact on Omaha’s youth,” Prout said.
Prout retired from OPL on March 11, 2017, and has left big shoes to fill. In her retirement, Prout plans to work on quilting, family history research, and spending time with family and friends. We’re grateful for her service and wish her all the best!