When Veronica Bonilla moved to Omaha from Southern California in 1998, OPL was among the first places she applied to work. Armed with a letter of recommendation from a teacher she had worked with, Bonilla visited W. Dale Clark Main Library and completed a job application. A few days later, she received a call to interview for a library page position. She was offered a job on the spot. She had no idea she would continue to work at OPL for the next two decades… and counting.
Her work began at Main Library, and after about a year, she transferred to South Omaha Library. Bonilla is one of a few employees who have worked at the library’s current location since it opened in 2008. “She knows so much about the facility, our patrons, and everything that has to do with South Omaha Library, making her a wonderful asset to our team,” said South Omaha Library manager Marvel Maring.
To patrons, she might be known as the smiling woman regularly seen sitting behind the circulation desk, always eager to help with anybody’s needs. Among the staff, Bonilla has made a name for herself with her creative book displays and her de facto position as the location’s social chair.
“I always try to make work a little more fun,” said Bonilla, who keeps track of staff birthdays, plans social gatherings for the branch staff, and has even planned picnics for the entire OPL staff.
“She’s like the emotional glue of the branch,” Maring said. “She’s really concerned about morale and making sure everyone feels welcome and a part of things.”
Through the years, Bonilla has watched children who once came in for storytimes grow into young adults, and thinks it’s pretty neat that many still recognize her when they visit the library. “Most of the time they wonder why I’m still here, but I’m here because I really enjoy it,” Bonilla said with a laugh.
She’s built relationships with regular patrons, especially Spanish-speakers. Having raised her own children with the help of OPL programs and resources, sharing all that the library has to offer is an especially important part of her job. “She’s got a sensitive and compassionate heart,” said Maring. “She works hard to make sure that all patrons have what they need.”