The Times - Serving Waitsburg, Dayton and the Touchet Valley

The Dayton Memorial Library has a new library director


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DAYTON-Todd Vandenbark is the new Library Director for the Dayton Memorial Library.

Vandenbark said he became interested in Library Science when a friend told him that libraries value people who come from diverse backgrounds and have varied work experience.

Indeed, Vandenbark has had a variety of jobs. He has worked as a daycare teacher, computer tech support consultant, customer service rep at a major telecom call center, lifeguard and swim instructor, school bus driver, camp counselor, martial arts instructor, and Keebler elf.

Yes, Keebler elf. Vandenbark said back when Keebler was selling "Sweet Spots" cookies, he had a job stacking and shrink-wrapping boxes of cookies, when they came off the production line, at a plant in Denver, Colo.

"We could sample extras whenever we wanted, but I got tired of them pretty quickly," he said. "Homemade is so much better!"

In 2009, Vandenbark earned a Masters of Library Science with a specialization in Technology Management from Indiana University at Indianapolis, Ind. Prior to that he earned a B.A. in Psychology from Luther College, in Decorah, Iowa.

He was most recently employed for five and a half years by Warburg College in Waverly, Iowa, where he was the Information Literacy and Technology Librarian. Before that, he worked at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, and the University of Utah.

After more than a dozen years working as an academic librarian, Vandenbark said he is ready for a career shift, to a role where he can apply his experience and leadership in service to the community.

"I am most looking forward to serving patrons of a wider range of ages, interests, and needs, in a new setting, one that is different than where I grew up," he said.

Vandenbark enjoys working with children, especially young children. When the COVID-19 restrictions ease, he hopes to offer music and storytelling events at the library.

He would also like to apply his skills in web design to the library's website enhancing the social media presence online.

"Finally, I want to learn all I can about Dayton and Columbia County's residents, their information needs, and find new ways to serve our patrons," he said.

Vandenbark grew up in the Chicago suburbs, the oldest of four boys. He has two daughters, Alissa, who is a student at Haverford College in Pennsylvania, and Sonia, who lives in Portland, Oregon with her husband, and their two-and-a-half-year-old son, Milo.

In his spare time, Vandenbark enjoys international folk dancing, biking, playing guitar, singing in a choir, and hiking through scenic areas, in and around, places he has lived.


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