Librarian CEO taking her role to new levels

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April 9 is National Library Worker Day, a day about honoring all library staff and the things they do to make the community better.

Gina Millsap has been the woman behind the Topeka & Shawnee County Library for 13 years, wearing the title as CEO.

“I wanted to be around people,” Millsap said. “And I wanted to help people.”

Gina didn’t want to be a librarian when she was growing up. In fact, at one point, she considered being a paleontologist, then a biologist.

But because of one special person, her life was changed.

“I talked to my mother, who said, ‘well you kind of spend your life in libraries, have you ever thought about working in them?'” Millsap said. “And I said, ‘that’s it’.”

But CEO isn’t the only title Gina holds. She’s still a librarian, helping people find books and materials when they need it. Different from other leaders of community libraries.

“Does the CEO do that? No,” Millsap said. “The CEO may not even be a librarian. So I think I have an understanding and appreciation for what everybody does.”

Gina said her role as the CEO is to be a caretaker, and a helper whenever possible. Whether it’s helping people find a textbook, a book for health or even a sports books.

“That’s my goal,” Millsap said. “To be sure that we’re serving everyone’s needs.”

But she’s using her work to help others outside of the stacks and in their careers.

“Her enthusiasm, her targeted planning, was something that I wanted to be a part of,” said Diana Friend, marketing and communications director of the library. “Because I want to be the best that I can be in my profession, and she makes me a better professional.”

For the woman behind the library, her job is more than helping you find the best book.

“Everybody has their own path,” Millsap said. “And so, the role of the library and my role as the leader of the library is to facilitate people’s discovery of their own path.”

It’s about eveyone in the community, becoming the best person they are destined to be.

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