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Where are They Now: Zach and Joanna Freking-Smith

Rod Library has so many fantastic student workers each academic year. We wanted to see what a few of our student workers have gone on to accomplish after their time at Rod Library!

Zach Freking-SmithZach and Joanna Freking-Smith are two former Rod Library student employees who have both gone on to work in library services post-graduation. Zach is currently the library director of the Cherokee Public Library in Cherokee, Iowa, and Joanna serves as the middle school teacher-librarian at Storm Lake Middle School. Here is what Zach had to say about how working at Rod Library made an impact on his future both personally and professionally.

What department did you work for while employed at Rod Library?

"I started at the multi-service center desk, working Monday evenings with my future wife, Joanna. When I moved to the circulation desk, I became a building monitor (also with Joanna). One summer I also worked in the Fine and Performing Arts Collection.”

How long did you work for the library?

"About 2.5 years, Fall 2012 to Summer 2014.”

What skills did you learn during your time as a student employee of Rod Library? Do you use any of them in your current profession?

"I learned a lot about weeding and shifting, which is a HUGE part of my job as a small-town library director. Being a building monitor really helped with learning to manage individuals and deal with patron issues.”

How was Rod Library a resource for you as you prepared to graduate and search for jobs?

Rod Library helped me spruce up my (woefully inadequate) resume. Without that, I would not be in my job today.”

What did you enjoy most about working at the library?

Future librarian onesie"Professionally, getting to work with patrons one-on-one to solve their computer problems, check-out issues, or help them find the right book for them. These have been invaluable to my current position.”

"Personally, I met my wife, Joanna, while working at the multi-service center desk. Without our lonely Monday nights in the basement, I would not have the wonderful family I have today.”

Do you feel that your experience working at Rod Library helped to better prepare you for your life after college?

"Absolutely! Not only did the work help shape my future career, but the connections I made while working there are invaluable.”

Which programs, services, or resources that Rod Library offers do you recommend students to utilize?

"The Makerspace and multimedia suites are AMAZING! They can definitely help add a little pizazz to your next presentation. Also, teaching majors, Makerspace will help you so much with understanding and utilizing your STEAM skills!”

If you or someone you know is a former Rod Library student employee and would like to be featured in one of our “Where are They Now” blogs, please contact us at lib-prc@uni.edu.

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