When people think of library personnel, librarians naturally come to mind. While librarians certainly account for a significant portion of OPL’s staff, many other key employees work behind the scenes to make things happen. One of these people is Lori Arends. Since October 2011, Arends has worked in the administrative offices at OPL as the office manager. She and a team of three others are responsible for Human Resources (HR) and finance functions of the library. In short, Arends makes sure jobs get posted and filled, budgets are balanced and spent, and bills get paid.
Being detail-oriented and holding herself to a high standard has helped Arends streamline and improve OPL’s workflows. She is particularly proud of helping to transition the library’s HR process to being almost completely paperless, as well as reducing time spent on processing materials invoices for the library.
“Lori has created incredible practices for making the finances at OPL run as smoothly and efficiently as possible,” said OPL Executive Director Laura Marlane. “She’s so well-organized that it makes everyone else’s jobs that much easier.”
Arends recalls checking out books for herself and her children when they were younger, but when she started working at OPL, her eyes were opened to just how much the library has to offer, and she now considers herself a regular library user.
“There’s so much more to the library than I knew before I came to work here,” said Arends. “My husband and I check out books, but I’ve also taken classes online through the library, and even started learning Spanish.”
Though being in the library loop is definitely a perk, Arends most enjoys the variety of people she gets to work with in her position. She is in regular contact with library staff at all locations, but also has relationships within other city departments and groups who help fund the library, such as the Friends of OPL and the OPL Foundation. It’s these connections that keep Arends motivated and inspired in her daily work.
“I always want what’s best for the library,” said Arends, “and I will do my best to make that happen.”
Update: In October 2020, Arends accepted a new opportunity with a library system in Florida.