WARSAW — Life’s journeys sometimes take a person through jobs or career paths they may not necessarily like or are not a good fit for. But then a door may open somewhere and they step through it into their dream job.
Amy Mann, a technical assistant in the children’s department with the Warsaw Community Public Library, has been fortunate to find her dream job since beginning in her current role about two-and-a-half years ago. But it did take time and working at different full and part time jobs before her dream job became a reality.
She grew up “in Iowa, Wisconsin, Colorado and Guam” as her father, David Chase, did behind the scenes technical work in radio and cable television. Later Mann was able to earn a college degree in elementary education from Baptist Bible College in Springfield, Mo.
After college, Amy was married and she and her husband at the time, Walter, moved to Florida for three years. In 1988, Amy and Walter and their family came to Kosciusko County so Walter could attend seminary.
For about four years, Mann worked as an aide to teachers at Warsaw Christian School. Though she had a degree in elementary education, she chose not to teach and instead wanted to spend more time with her children.
Later she worked for 16 years at Tokens and Tickets, a business once located in Warsaw that was burned down by an arsonist. For a while, Mann worked at different part-time jobs and gained a new perspective. “It’s not that temporarily unemployed people don’t want to work,” she said. “It’s just that they are temporarily unemployed.”
Eventually it was suggested to apply for employment at the Warsaw Library, but at first she was skeptical and didn’t think there would be any openings. She changed her mind and chose to apply, was hired and started as a shelving page before moving to her current position in the children’s department.
As a technical assistant, Mann gives tours of the library, works with children during story times, does customer service work and orders books. Story times involve reading, finger plays, songs and motion for preschool through age 5. Sometimes story times are done in local schools too.
Customer service often means helping people find books or the right reading levels for kids attending school.
Mann said she had always wanted to work with kids “but I never knew how to really do that.” She has been an avid book reader since childhood and was one of those kids who read books with a flashlight under the covers when she should have been sleeping instead.
Why would she term working at the library her dream job? “I like the relationships with the kids,” she said. “I like meeting the kids and getting to know their names.”
There is also the aspect of taking the library out into the community during story times and essentially promoting the library’s various resources. She believes a library has much to offer and can be a gathering place for a community.
Knowing the book collection and matching up a book with the right person is also a plus, she said.
Now single, Mann is actively involved in Winona Lake Grace Brethren Church and still enjoys reading. She has a son, Tim, who is married and is a counselor in Akron, Ohio. A daughter, Christi, just moved to Nashville, Tenn., after living in Chicago for five years.