Katie Lovall’s vibrant energy and endless ambition first touched the halls of Central Elementary in Portage four years ago, when she began working as the school’s health assistant. Though she embraced this opportunity to work with children and be a part of their education experience, she never lost sight of her greater ambition to be the school’s librarian. After working her way from health assistant to secretary, the position of librarian become available, and Lovall didn’t hesitate to send in her resume.
“When the library position opened up, I was so excited,” Lovall said. “I told our principal that it was my dream! It had been a long time coming, and I finally made it.”
As librarian, Lovall juggles a multitude of responsibilities but never views them as simple tasks required of the job. Rather, she relishes putting her best self into every book she reads, every student research project, and otherwise.
“I tell people all the time that my job is nothing but fun,” Lovall said. “Every job has stress, but for me, that doesn’t translate into feelings of anxiety or overwhelm. Being a librarian means reading, helping kids find books, and talking about topics and stories that you love. My days are amazing, and nothing short of a dream for me.”
Lovall brings her crafty side to school, always thinking of new projects that will bring stories alive for students.
“I love crafts and implement that into every story I read with the kids,” Lovall said. “I always try to find age-appropriate things to include, but I find that specific story-oriented crafts resonate best with our younger kids, and help the story stick with them a bit more.”
A lifelong lover of words, Lovall demonstrated an affinity for literature at a young age, making frequent runs to the local bookstores to satisfy her bookworm needs.
“When I was younger, I had my own little bookshelf that I would organize and alphabetize,” Lovall said. “I was always on top of keeping my books in check, probably a sign I was meant to be a librarian!”
As a librarian, it’s only natural that Lovall is an avid reader herself.
“I’ve always been a big reader, but my favorite has to be the Mary Poppins books,” Lovall said. “I especially love Mary Poppins Opens the Door and all those classic Mary Poppins tales.”
Though there are many individuals in Lovall’s life who have inspired her, her love for reading can be traced back to none other than her 6th grade English teacher, Mrs. Mindy Malaski.
“I remember she had read Because of Winn Dixie to us, and I fell in love with it,” Lovall said. “I still talk about that book in my own library now, and I still keep in touch with Mrs. Malaski. We’re in Portage Tri Kappa together!”
“That’s what’s fun about working in the place you grew up,” Lovall continued. “After living here for so long you go through the schools, then your children go through the schools, and you end up working side by side with the people you looked up to as a kid. I tell my kids, always be good in class because you never know who you might end up working with one day!”
Lovall embraces a busy lifestyle.
At home, my family and I just bought a new house and are renovating it into our dream home,” Lovall said. “I love working on projects there knowing that it’s bringing our dream to life. I thrive on the organized chaos of projects.”
Oftentimes Lovall spends hours before and after school bringing her visions and ideas to life, but it helps to know that she’s always got a group of helping hands to see them through.
“My husband, Kevin, is amazing. He is always here to support my crazy ideas,” Lovall said. “One time he even found me some great sticks to build an artificial campfire to read around in the library! He and our three boys, Noah, Harrison, and Cooper, come in on weekends to help me shelve or set things up. I would never make it through without them.”
For Lovall, part of what makes Central a great place to work is the incredible work environment created by her coworkers.
“It’s just the greatest place to work with the greatest people,” Lovall said. “If I ever have my kids here and I have a meeting to attend, I know I can send them to any classroom for a bit and my colleagues will gladly watch out for them. I always joke and say that I’m going to be a little old lady working here one day because I love it so much and couldn’t imagine ever leaving.”
“This is such a feel-good job, and I know people say this all the time, but if you do what you love you never really work, and that’s so true for me,” Lovall continued. “Even if I’m just away for the weekend, I get so excited to come back here. Even when I’m at home I’m always planning my next activity for the library; I just love being here.”