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2021 OELMA Awards Spotlight on Wendy Torrence, Library Leadership Ohio's Scholarship Recipient

Today we are highlighting one of our 2021 OELMA Library Leadership Ohio's Scholarship recipients, Wendy Torrence. Wendy is currently a school librarian at Tippecanoe Middle School located in Tipp City. 
Since 2000, a number of OELMA members have participated in the Library Leadership Ohio Institute. Library Leadership Ohio is a collaboration of the State Library of Ohio and OhioNET. The 2021 cohort of Library Leadership met online in July and August 2021. The program is funded in part through a federal Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) LSTA grant awarded by the State Library of Ohio. 

“The innovative spirit of the Library Leadership Ohio Institute established in 1993 has been revitalized several times over since then. Recognizing the ongoing challenges faced by all Ohio libraries, we believe that developing the next generation of transformative library leaders is vital to ensure the continued depth, growth, and quality of library services for all. “The State Library of Ohio and OhioNET staff are proud of all the great leaders that have come out of this program in the past,” said Wendy Knapp, State Librarian. 
Here are some interesting things to know about Wendy: 
Q: How many years have you been a librarian/educator?
A: I was an English teacher for 8 years. This is my 7th year as a school librarian. In between, I held several jobs in public libraries and schools.
Q: What did you want to be when you were a child?
A: Years ago when my daughter was born, I was looking through books that my mother had saved for me. I was amazed to see how I had written my name and "due date" in my Little Golden Books. I flashed back to playing library in the corner of the living room. It's amazing how the things we love so passionately as a child stay with us and manifest at a later date. I thought I wanted to be a nurse and then an English teacher. Nothing has ever felt as right as being a librarian.
Q: Who has inspired you in your professional career?
A: Deb Logan, Liz Deskins, and Jessica Klinker
Q: What book have you read more than once, if any? And why?
A: I have read many books in my lifetime more than once, mainly because I was teaching them or using them in my book clubs. I long for some calm days when I can leisurely reread Toni Morrison's Song of Solomon and Beloved.
Q: If you could "meet" any character from a book who would it be and why?
A: I would love to meet Winn-Dixie from Because of Winn-Dixie because that is one amazing, miracle-working dog. (I'm a sucker for a dog story).
Q: What was your first job?
A: I was, of course, a babysitter. My first job that took withholding was as a telemarketer for a charity.
Q: What is the furthest place you have traveled?
A: We don't travel much. St. Martin was a beautiful island, and I would love to return there.
Q: What is your favorite tech tool or app right now that you cannot live without?
A: I love FlipGrid for its many uses for students and teachers.
Q: What inspires you the most about working in education and libraries?
A: Getting to spend time with young people is the most amazing part of my job. I love to hear them share their reaction to a book that I recommended. Sharing like that is intimate; you just don't do that with strangers on the street. It is a shared emotional, intellectual, and sometimes spiritual experience.
Q: Would you like to say anything specific about your award and/or winning your award within your spotlight? Share below!
A: Thank you, OELMA, for giving me the opportunity to attend Library Leadership Ohio. I reflected on my strengths and weaknesses and filled my tool belt. I walked away with more confidence in my abilities and new strategies to employ.

Congrats to Wendy and thank you for taking the time to focus on your professional leadership skills this past summer as part of the Library Leadership Ohio Institute!