Rockford Carnegie Librarian Shelley Muhlenkamp finds her heart this day right where she wants it, as librarian of a small-town library surrounded by a community she knows and loves.
“I am a people person through and through,” said Muhlenkamp. “I spent a lot of time in the YMCA (Celina) working with kids. All through high school and college I was attracted to people.”
Muhlenkamp, a 2000 graduate of Celina High School, received a degree in Visual Communication and Technology at Bowling Green State University where she also received a Fine Arts minor.
Following her graduation in 2004, she utilized her graphic design skills working at “Totally Promotion” in Celina (now Coldwater). She then furthered her employment by working at, “House of White Birches,” in Berne, Ind. before working as an office manager in St. Anthony.
“The opportunity for librarian in Rockford came up and I pursued it because I missed kids in my office management job,” said Muhlenkamp. “I came here because I wanted to get back among the children.”
That was four years ago; These days she couldn’t be happier with the children and families that visit the Rockford Library.
Over the past four years, she has not only served the public through enhancing their book reading, but she has also developed programs to teach children people skills and character development.
Programs that she has developed for young people include how to treat others, learning social skills, crafts, cooking, and learning skills.
“I look at the library more like a community center than anything,” said Muhlenkamp. “I love organizing; we (with husband, Matt, also known as, ‘Bubba,’) are always hosting and planning parties. I love getting people together through planning.”
Muhlenkamp noted that they have four children in the Parkway School System. In addition, the family has hosted a foreign exchange student, Martina, from Spain. Muhlenkamp stressed how close Martina has become as a part of their family unit. She noted that tears will flow when she returns to her home in Spain in a few weeks.
“It has been so neat to learn about the differences in our cultures,” said Muhlenkamp. “She grew up in Madrid, which is the opposite of which we grew up around here. She attended school on a city bus. Living in rural life with us in the country has been a totally different experience for her.”
In addition to her involvement as librarian, Muhlenkamp has helped with the Rockford Main Street Committee, planning committee, the Chamber of Commerce and getting involved with other community activities.
“I feel like another extension of the Rockford family,” said Muhlenkamp. “I like help providing for them. I know most of the kids.”