Staff Spotlight: Alan Greunke

Alan Greunke, youth services specialist at Saddlebrook Branch.

Alan Greunke has been involved with libraries for as long as he can remember. After being diagnosed with a speech impediment at a young age and told that he would never be able to read at a high level, Greunke and his mother started making the library a regular destination.

“My mom took me to the library all the time and worked with me constantly,” said Greunke. “We were always reading and talking, so I developed an appreciation for libraries through that experience.”

Greunke overcame his speech impediment and went on to volunteer at his school libraries throughout junior high and high school. Though he first enrolled as a psychology major at the University of Nebraska at Omaha, he changed his major to library science, motivated by his years of volunteer experience.

After graduating in 2014, Greunke was hired to work at Willa Cather Branch. Since then, he has worked at W. Dale Clark Main Library, and the Milton R. Abrahams and Millard branches, before settling into his current position as youth services specialist at Saddlebrook Branch, where he’s responsible for teen programming.

Because Saddlebrook Branch shares a facility with Saddlebrook Elementary School, Greunke also works with younger kids, but that is not a problem since, he says, he is “basically a big kid, so it works well.”

“He knows what games they are playing online, and what books and graphic novels they are reading because he is into them, too,” said Saddlebrook Branch Manager Lori Nelson.

In addition to his interest in young adult culture, Greunke works with the Teen Advisory Board to get their input about programming at the branch. Greunke also enjoys contributing to workplace morale, singing often and playing his ukulele during breaks. “We have heard a full cast arrangement of ‘Hakuna Matata’ by Alan coming from the back workroom,” Nelson said.

At the end of the day, interacting with patrons is Greunke’s favorite part of the job. He has regular customers who visit him often, and he looks forward to talking to them about everything that’s going on in their lives. At only 24 years old, he’s confident that working at OPL has led him to a profession that he’ll continue in for years to come.

“I’m just really lucky to have followed the path that I’ve been on,” said Greunke. “Everybody in each position I’ve held has been really good at helping me to mold my career and help get me involved in the right things. They have definitely been open to letting me take on as many responsibilities as I can handle.”

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