Wendy VanScheetz knew she wanted to be around books for a living,
VanScheetz, who began her role as the new manager of the Whetstone branch of the Columbus Public Library on March 21, initially wanted to be a book editor in a publishing house.
While she was studying English and literature at the University of Dayton, she took a part-time job at a library.
Suddenly, working at a publishing house in New York City did not seem so romantic, and getting people excited about reading became a greater calling.
In 1997, she applied at the Northern Lights branch and has been with CML ever since.
She previously served at Whetstone and the Reynoldsburg branch and on CML’s InfoLine / Rover team.
For the past decade, she was the manager of Main Library’s circulation division.
“I had been doing that job for 10 years, and that’s a long time,” VanScheetz said.
VanScheetz has replaced Jennifer Hess, who was hired as manager of the Reynoldsburg branch.
“Coming to a branch allows me to interact with customers again,” said VanScheetz, who lives in Worthington. “I want to tell people to come in and check out some books.”
COVID-19 presented many challenges for staff and customers, but now that the coronavirus seems to be less of a threat, normalcy appears to be returning, said VanScheetz, who grew up in east Columbus.
“The pandemic changed a lot,” she said. “What I’m seeing is our teenagers have not returned to us. That’s something I’m going to be working on with staff.”
Whetstone, at 3909 N High St. in Clintonville, was built in in 1985 and expanded in 1998 to almost 23,000 square feet.
In 2021, Whetstone had 177,000 visits and a first-time circulation of 488,000. First-time circulation refers to the first time a customer checks out any item, whether it’s a book, CD, DVD, audiobook, etc., said Ben Zenitsky, a spokesperson for CML.
The return to normalcy appears to be real, but it is not pre-COVID normal yet, Zenitsky said.
“There were limited hours for much of the year,” he said. “They’re certainly trending back upward, but they certainly aren’t what they were pre-pandemic.”
BJ White is a member of the Clintonville Area Commission, which holds meetings at the library.
White said the library is vital to the commission and other committees who meet there.
“When you want to talk about engaging the community on a broader scale, the library is critical for that,” White said.