St. Anthony Park Library manager’s stint is her third


Ever had that feeling of déjà vu? “I’ve been here before”? Peg Doheny, the new branch manager at the St. Anthony Park Library, can certainly relate. This is her third stint at this library.

Doheny, who grew up in St. Paul and earned a degree in library science from the University of Minnesota, got her start shelving books in high school at the Arlington Library, where she was “bitten by the librarian bug.” She decided to become a librarian because she enjoys the intellectual challenges of library work and likes helping people with many needs.

After graduating from college in 1979, her first job was as a librarian at the St. Anthony Park Branch Library beginning in 1981, though that position was only for a year. She left on maternity leave with her first child.

She began as branch supervisor at the Rice Street library in 1982 and returned to St. Anthony Park in 1984 as branch supervisor, where she remained for two years, once again departing on maternity leave.

In her 37 years of service, 28 of which have been in supervisory positions, Doheny has held nearly every library position and has served at several branches in the St. Paul Public Library system.

Her longest term, eight years, was at the Central Library, where she was an assistant supervisor of youth services, which included collaborating with other early education institutions, programming, and building and maintaining the collection. While there, she started the Passport to Play program in collaboration with the Children’s Museum. This evolved into the popular Museum Pass program, whereby library patrons can check out a pass for free admission to one of many area museums.

When Rose Ann Foreman moved to the Merriam Park Library, Doheny left her position at Dayton’s Bluff Library to come to St. Anthony Park.

“I am looking forward to working in a library with great community support and good neighborhood collaborations,” she said. These include the St. Anthony Park Association, the St. Anthony Park Block Nurse Program, the St. Anthony Park Garden Club and the University of Minnesota’s English conversation group, all of which have some affiliation with the library.

“This is a well-supported library,” she said.” I want to continue to build on the strong partnerships already in place, and intend to use the available resources well so that we can keep meeting most needs in this time of economic belt-tightening.”

A self-described “people person,” Doheny looks forward to reconnecting with the neighborhood and is happy to be working with youth and youth programs.

One of the most challenging parts of a modern librarian’s job is keeping up with technology, and this is a challenge for Doheny, too. Formats keep changing — books to microfiche to online resources, for example — and the librarian’s role is to be an “information broker,” to help people figure out the best source of information and how to access it.

The computer has made a huge change in how people use a library, said Doheny.

“There is not as much of an emphasis on printed matter as in the past,” she said. “For example, people can now download audio books from an online site. The direction is going toward more computer use in the future.”

But no matter how information is shared in the years to come, people like Peg Doheny and her staff will be there to help smooth the way.

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