iSchool Alumnus Named North Dakota’s Librarian of the Year
The North Dakota Library Association has chosen a standout alumnus from the San José State University School of Information for its prestigious title of Librarian of the Year. Aaron Stefanich received the award that recognizes individuals who have made “outstanding contributions to the North Dakota library profession.” For Stefanich, being recognized as Librarian of the Year “is humbling, because I know so many other North Dakota librarians who deserve the award.”
Stefanich currently serves as the children service’s director at the Grand Forks Public Library. Getting to that position started with his time at the SJSU School of Information, with his master’s degree program “providing the knowledge and skills that are needed to manage a library.” Stefanich didn’t set out to become a children’s librarian when he enrolled in the Master of Library and Information Science program. “That is the path my career took. The courses I took at SJSU helped prepare me for a career that I never imagined having,” he explains.
After graduating from SJSU in 2000 with his MLIS degree, Stefanich returned to his home state of Minnesota to work at a public library. He received his teaching license and became a media specialist in a rural K-8 school soon after. “My job interview was over the phone on the drive back from my honeymoon, and the job started the day after I got back. The principal already knew me as a substitute teacher and needed someone right away,” he recalls. Stefanich continued to work around Minnesota in different media specialist positions until he was offered a children’s librarian position at the Grand Forks Public Library. “I moved to North Dakota in 2009, and have worked here ever since.”
Stefanich states that the best part of working in a library is “every day is different and I get to do a variety of tasks, but the skill I use most is people skills. I think working with people is the most important part of my job, and I try to treat everyone with respect and kindness.” His contributions to the Grand Forks Public Library, including “enhancing children’s programming and leading a department remodel,” have earned the praise of Wendy Wendt, director of the Grand Forks Public Library. Stefanich’s current goal is to “continue working as a librarian to the best of my abilities at the Grand Forks Public Library.”