youth services librarian looks to the future | Local News

You would expect to see Justine Ridder at the Keene Memorial Library. This is where she has been working as a children’s librarian since August.

You might not expect to see her at the Fremont fire station, in a park or at a local business.

But with the impending expansion of the library — as well as Ridder’s outward thinking — you might start to see her working with children in a variety of settings.

Ridder knows the Fremont area well. She and her husband, Anthony, are from West Point, where they started dating in high school. He went to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. She went to the University of Nebraska at Omaha, where she earned an undergraduate degree in library science in 2014.

After graduating from undergrad, Ridder worked part-time at the Elkhorn Branch of the Omaha Public Library, Council Bluffs Public Library, and Ralston Baright Library.

“I gained a lot of experience working in many different communities,” Ridder said.

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She earned her master’s degree in library and information science online from the University of Missouri in 2020.

Ridder became full-time youth services librarian and assistant director of the Ralston Library in 2016 and remained there until she began her work in Fremont.

“I loved Ralston. I loved the community. I loved the library, but my husband and I decided to move back to West Point, because we now have two grandchildren, so we knew we wanted to reunite with grandmothers and grandfathers,” he said. she stated.

The Ridders have a daughter, Rori, 2, and a son, August 1. The Ridders live in West Point and Justine goes to Fremont.

Ridder enjoyed his time in Fremont.

“I had a lot of fun connecting with schools through outreach,” she said. “Awareness raising is something I’m passionate about, making people realize that libraries aren’t just four walls.”

Ridder also knows that the library is more than books on shelves. It has online resources such as e-books and audio books and all databases, which people can access anywhere.

“I love doing programs outside of the library,” she said.

In October, Ridder held a story hour at the fire station, during which FFD Chief Todd Bernt and firefighter-paramedic Jason Shreck also read stories. The children who went to the fire station were able to learn about fire safety.

Ridder said the books provide a way for parents to have conversations with children. She hopes parents who attend story time will later talk with their children about what they would do if a fire broke out in their home.

These days, Ridder offers story time at four different elementary schools once a month.

She said having story time in schools helps students feel more comfortable with it and more excited about visiting the library.

“They have someone they feel comfortable talking to when they’re here,” she said.

Ridder knows how important it is for children to come to the library.

This is especially true during the summer, when children may lose academic skills or have a decline in reading ability when school is not in session.

“There are tons of statistics that show that kids who don’t read or actively try to learn over the summer lose up to two months of what they’ve learned over the year. previous school year,” she said. “Reading helps them get their brains working so they don’t lose so much.”

Besides directing Storytime, Ridder has been involved with the community in other ways.

She participated in the downtown Halloween Hysteria and Christmas Walk. She is looking forward to participating in the John C. Fremont Days Festival.

As a children’s librarian, she also orders new books and weeds out those that are outdated or in poor condition.

She continues to plan story time, book clubs and special events such as the recent Crafternoon, which was attended by approximately 100 people.

Ridder has help in his efforts.

“I have excellent youth workers for the children,” she says.

Ridder said it made her heart happy when the kids didn’t want to leave the library.

She even saw children crying when they had to leave.

“Parents obviously don’t like it, but it shows how much the kids love being here, reading books or playing on the computer or attending the programs, and they don’t want to leave,” she said. . “I love that they want to stay and soak up as much of the library as they can.”

Ridder knows how to comfort children who don’t want to leave.

“I usually give them goodbye stickers and try to end on a happy note,” she said, adding that she let them know they might come back.

This summer, the library expansion project should start. The library will temporarily move to the Fremont City Auditorium.

“We may not be able to do story time at the library like we used to,” she said.

Still, that’s when Ridder is eager to bring story time to parks and different businesses to keep kids engaged in reading and passionate about books.

Ridder said those who would like to have Storytime in their business are encouraged to email him at [email protected] or call him at the library at 402-727-2694.

“I’ve done fuss at bowling alleys, movie theaters, ice cream parlors, a climbing gym,” she said.

And wherever she goes, Ridder plans to continue helping kids love reading.

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