Meet Karen Bays-Winslow
Howdy from Oklahoma! It’s been a long journey to get here, but I’m so excited to finally arrive at Cambridge City Public Library. My name is Karen Bays-Winslow, and I am happy and grateful to have the opportunity to be the new director for your beautiful library.
I’m an Oklahoma native, and I started out my library career as a part-time Page, shelving books during college for Metropolitan Library System, based in Oklahoma City. I graduated with a BA in English and a German minor in 1990. After college, I worked in a hotel and took some education courses, thinking that I might want to be a teacher. Teaching seemed like a good fit, since I enjoyed people and books.
In 1993, I was promoted to be a part-time library assistant, working at the circulation and reference desks. I loved this job so much that I asked co-workers what I needed to do to work full-time. They told me to go back to library school! After earning my MLIS at the University of Oklahoma, I worked as a reference librarian from 1996-1999. I enjoyed finding information for people and writing songs for puppet shows. In 1999, I was asked to be the temporary manager for the Edmond Library in Metropolitan Library System, and then I was hired as the branch manager there for about 10 years.
In December 2009, I accepted a position with Pioneer Library System, based in Norman, Oklahoma, to be closer to my future husband, Donald Winslow, who was the director of the Conservation Biology program at St. Gregory’s University in Shawnee. I worked as a county coordinator and branch manager at Shawnee Public Library for seven and 1/2 years with Pioneer Library System.
All of my previous library experience has been as a middle manager working for large library systems which had support departments to handle the many details of running a library, such as Human Resources, Finance, Payroll and Accounting, Acquisitions, Cataloging, and Technical Processing. Outgoing Director Vicki Melek and her experienced staff have managed all of these areas beautifully for many years. I am somewhat nervous as I begin to learn these new skills and procedures for the first time, but Vicki has been a wonderful teacher with the patience of a saint, so I’m hopeful that I have retained some of her instruction and wisdom.
My husband and I have two young and very spirited boys, ages 2 and 6, who keep us quite busy. We have two cats who don’t help out much. If I ever get some extra time, I enjoy hiking, bird-watching, dancing, yoga, piano, swimming, and I have a long term project to organize family photos.
Please drop by and say hello if you get a chance! I’m looking forward to getting to know our library customers, volunteers, board, and the community as a whole and to serving as your librarian.