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Hannahs named ND Librarian of the Year

Sandra Hannahs is the director of the West Fargo Public Library. File photo

Sandra Hannahs, West Fargo Public Library director, has been named Librarian of the Year by the North Dakota Library Association.

Carrie Scarr, assistant director, received certificates of appreciation for leadership of the public library section of the NDLA and service as partial year archivist/historian library section.

Hannahs was hired as assistant West Fargo Library director in 2006.

A year later, she became library director, replacing Miriam Arves, who spent 31 years with the library.

Landing here was somewhat coincidental.

Hannahs first set foot in the West Fargo Public Library while working on the Minnesota State University Moorhead library staff.

“I walked in and this library was beautiful,” she recalls. “I walked out of here saying, ‘Gee, wouldn’t that be a fun place to work.’”

That weekend, an advertisement appeared in the newspaper seeking applicants for West Fargo assistant library director.

“That’s how I ended up here,” she said. “Being a librarian is actually my third career.”

A Fargo native, Hannahs has bachelor’s degrees in Spanish and French from Minnesota State University Moorhead. She holds two master’s degrees in information and library management from the University of Northumbria in Newcastle, England, and translation from the Monterey (Calif.) Institute of International Studies.

She previously taught Spanish and French at high school, college and adult education levels, spending 10 years in Durham, England.

She worked as a business translator in Paris, France, and later with computer-assisted translation in New York and Connecticut.

“It was kind of cutting-edge technology that was really fun to be part of,” she said.

Hannahs worked on library staffs at MSUM and Concordia College, both in Moorhead.

A lot has changed in her eight years at West Fargo Library.

Technological advances including portable iPads, laptop computers, scanners, e-books, e-audiobooks and e-movies now complement books, magazines and other traditional information resources, she said.

“We have DVDs, Blu-ray. We have downloadable items,” like Library2Go, Hannahs said.

Library2Go offers library users free access to books, movies, e-books, e-audiobooks and e-movies on home computers or portable devices.

“I don’t feel that downloadable items are replacing print,” Hannahs said. “I don’t see traditional libraries disappearing.”

West Fargo’s library has become more involved in the community especially with the schools and senior citizens, she said.

It is linked with 29 other North Dakota libraries. “People from across the state all have access to the same collection of books,” she said.

Being named Librarian of the Year is truly an honor and a very unexpected one, Hannahs said.

“I think it’s an honor not only for me but for our library,” she said. “I can come up with all kinds of ideas. If I don’t have quality staff to make them work, those ideas aren’t any good.”