Ohrtman leaves Libraries of Stevens County

The Libraries of Stevens County have announced that long-time Library Manager, Krista Ohrtman, has resigned to take a job at the university library of her alma mater, Augustana University, in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

Ohrtman has worked for the Libraries of Stevens County for over nine years. She started her career with the Library District at the Kettle Falls Library in February of 2008. She later transferred to become manager of the Colville Public Library in the spring of 2010. During those years, Krista worked full-time while also completing her Master’s Degree in Information Science from the University of Washington’s acclaimed Ischool, where she was awarded a scholarship for her outstanding work.

Ohrtman chose to return to Sioux Falls in order to be closer to family, but felt a lot of mixed feelings about leaving the Colville Library.

“Over nine years I have watched kids grow up, families come and go, and this library and community will always have a very special place in my heart,” Ohrtman said.

Ohrtman brought a lot of skills to the job and she worked tirelessly to make sure the library stayed current with technology, materials and resources. She noted that, “one of the challenges of the Colville Library is that it’s a very busy place in a very small space.”

On average, about 600 people per day use the Colville Library to access computers, use the high-speed wifi, check out books, DVD’s, get homework help, job application assistance, conduct legal research, etc. Ohrtman’s leadership locally helped navigate the library through many changes and it caught the attention of other library leaders around the state. She represented the Libraries of Stevens County on several state-wide committees and was known as a clear thinker, innovative and creative. She was often asked to lead trainings herself.

According to Library Director, Amanda Six, Ohrtman “had a unique and powerful ability to get to the heart of a situation or problem. Her sense of humor and intelligence made her the perfect public librarian. Every day, every situation is different and Krista had a native fluency in being able to roll with whatever the day threw at her.”

For several years, Ohrtman served on the board of the Washington Library Association, because she was recruited by other leaders in the state who were impressed with her work. She was always a powerful voice for rural and remote libraries, but for Stevens County in particular. She did an excellent job of making sure that any statewide projects would be applicable to rural and small libraries.

Ohrtman was also an active member of Colville Kiwanis and was a member of the Colville School Board.

“In both roles, her job as the library manager was invaluable because she had a perspective that brought a lot to the table,” noted Six. “She had a holistic view of the community and saw connections between education, youth sports, information access, and how families used and navigated all of that. Her work at the library meant that she saw families from all walks of life: homeschool kids, retirees, homeless, new arrivals, etc. This experience informed her volunteer work with Kiwanis and on the School Board.”

Colville Library Improvement Club President, Connie Phillips, summed it all up by saying, “Krista just has that something special.”

Ohrtman’s commitment to libraries and to the Colville community are wide-reaching and will be felt for many years.