After receiving her BS in Mathematics at Purdue University and her MLS at Indiana University in Indianapolis, Gretchen moved to Connecticut to become the first Teen Services Librarian at the New Canaan (CT) library. She built the teen services program from scratch, working to give teens in the community a place to dig deeply into their interests, connect with others, and grow into their future selves. A patron once described her job as being “in charge of having fun,” and she took that responsibility seriously.
After two and a half years at New Canaan, Gretchen was the head of Teen Services at the Bronx Library Center (a branch of the New York Public Library), where she focused on building community, giving teens new opportunities, and facilitating her staff members’ growth.
In early 2014, Gretchen became NYPL’s Manager for Young Adult Education and Engagement, providing oversight and vision for teen programming across the system’s 88 branches in the Bronx, Manhattan, and Staten Island, including everything from Summer Reading to TeenLIVE and Anti-Prom to paid programming in neighborhood libraries. Gretchen also coordinates staff development and builds the community of practice for branch staff who work with teens.
In 2013 she received the YALSA Volunteer of the Year Award and the YALSA/ABC-CLIO/Greenwood Service to Young Adults Achievement Award, and in 2014 she began a three-year term on YALSA’s Board of Directors.
Beyond teen services and urban librarianship, she’s interested in how libraries bridge young people from children’s services to teen services and from teen services to adult services, the role the library can play in the larger community, the transfer and loss of institutional knowledge, and the professional development of teen services staff.