In Focus


Brenda Hemmelman

My first love affair with a book was at Hayes Elementary School. Yes, that is little tiny Hayes, SD on Highway 14. I don’t remember the name of the book, but I do remember asking the teacher if I could just have it. She, of course, declined. In high school at Philip, I spent some afternoons sitting on the floor of the Haakon County Library perusing paperbacks. My sister and I were gifted the entire original Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys series, so that kept us busy as well.

My first working experience at a library was as a student at SDSU. While working on a teaching degree, I was a work study student in the Circulation Department at H.M. Briggs Library. When I graduated, my library supervisor told me that if teaching didn’t work out for me, I should consider library work. I took his advice to heart and have worked in almost every area of libraries: ILL, circulation, documents, reference, cataloging. By far I enjoy the reference work the most because I like to work with and help people find information.One learns something new themselves every time a patron question is answered.

I’ve also been very lucky to be a part of the Executive Board of the SD Library Association since 1999. Having this opportunity has allowed me to get to know so many librarians throughout the state. Going to conference feels like a gathering of old friends.

Although I love the Black Hills, coming to the State Library in Pierre as the Research/Gov Docs Librarian allows me the chance to get back into my favorite area of library work. At the same time, I am also able to keep a closer eye on my aging parents, who still live in Hayes. Bringing up my six-year-old son in a smaller community also has a certain appeal.

I have a bachelor’s degree from SDSU in Math and Spanish, where I was also a proud member of the Pride of the Dakotas marching band, and a MA in Information Resources and Library Science from the University of Arizona in Tucson. In addition to reading (Nevada Barr and Tony Hillerman are favorites as well as SD history), I enjoy spending time hiking and camping with the family, riding my four wheeler, playing with my dogs, landscaping, and home improvement. I watch a fair amount of HGTV, History Channel, and Discovery Channel.

My family includes husband Brian, currently a professor at SDSM&T, but looking forward to starting his own consulting business in Pierre, and our son Devin, currently a kindergartner in Rapid City. The road between Pierre and Rapid City will become very familiar until the rest of the family moves to Pierre in the summer. We also have two young dogs, Koda (sheltie) and Ranger (pound dog), and a very old cat.

government publications, librarian, research, staff

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