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Svoboda is the new branch manager at the Dakota County Library in Farmington

Barbara Svoboda is the new manager at the Dakota County Farmington Library.

There's a new friendly face around the Dakota County Library in Farmington, and it belongs to the new branch manager, Barbara Svoboda.

She's been in Minnesota for just shy of a year. Svoboda and her husband moved from Pennsylvania to Woodbury last July. She's been in the business of books for several years, working at libraries around the country. Svoboda was employed at the Horsham Township Library in Montgomery County, Penn., before they moved to Minnesota.

She started in her new position May 20. We sat down to visit with Barbara early in her second week in Farmington.

What have your first few weeks here been like?

The first week I had training for three days and I didn't even get to the branch here until Thursday.... But what I'm finding is that Farmington is really blessed with a fantastic staff full of librarians. They're all just wonderful folks.... That's what makes a good community library, to really know the people that you're working for. You guys have that here in spades. They're a great staff.

You have a renovation coming up. Are you looking forward to that?

I am. When I worked in Wisconsin -- we used to live in Wisconsin -- when I was at the Heartland library, the director was just getting started with putting together an addition project.... I was excited to be able to work with that, but unfortunately my husband was laid off so we had to go job hunting elsewhere and I wasn't able to hang around for that the way I thought. This kind of gives me a chance to sort of do it, but not really, because most of the planning is done already. All the designs have been taken care of. I just get to say, "OK, where did you need me to take care of what?" so that's kind of nice. There's a lot of pressure off of me that way. I can just step up and do the job they need done.

In your first couple of days here, have you gotten out to meet many people?

I met some of (the city hall) folks on Friday morning and I walked over to the Farmington Bakery for lunch and beyond that, I've met people as they've been coming in. I'll get there. I'd like to get involved with something in the community outside of the library so I can get a feel for the community, other than just by meeting people as they come through the door. In my past jobs I did a lot of networking with the school districts.... I'd like to do something, but I'm not really sure what is all here yet.

And then we have Dew Days coming up.

When I think of Dew Days, the first thing I think of is "due day" as in when your book is due back to the library. Andy was filling me in on all the things that go on around here for that and I think that will be a lot of fun.

Is there anything you're looking forward to in the future here?

All of it. Obviously, the renovation will be a lot of fun. The renovation is going to, just because it's new, hopefully bring in a lot of new patrons who haven't seen the library before so that will give us a chance to sort of strut our stuff to folks who maybe didn't realize that we were here, which will be kind of nice. I'd like to see if I can't maybe rejuvenate the Friends (of the Library) group. I understand they could use a boost up, so we can maybe do some of that. I had a great relationship with the Friends group from the Horsham library and the Heartland library, too. Some of those community folks can really bring a whole lot of energy and enthusiasm to a library. They can expand on the stuff we're doing and help advertise it in a way that we're not able to do otherwise.

Michelle Leonard

Michelle Leonard joined the Woodbury Bulletin staff in November, 2014, after 14 years covering news for the Bulletin's sister publication, the Farmington Rosemount Independent Town Pages.  Michelle earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Mass Communications: News-Editorial from Mankato State University in 1991. She is an active member of the American Legion Auxiliary Clifford Larson Unit 189 of Farmington, and served as the 2014-15 Third District President to the American Legion Auxiliary Department of Minnesota. Michelle is also the volunteer coordinator for the Minnesota Newspaper Museum which is open annually during the Minnesota State Fair. She has earned Minnesota Newspaper Association awards in Investigative Reporting, Local News Coverage, Feature Photography and Column Writing. 

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