Three Shelby Township Library employees earn master’s degrees in library science

By: Kara Szymanski | Shelby - Utica News | Published May 13, 2019

 Katrina Prohaszka is a circulation clerk and has been at the library for almost a year.  She just graduated with a master’s degree in library science from Wayne State University.

Katrina Prohaszka is a circulation clerk and has been at the library for almost a year. She just graduated with a master’s degree in library science from Wayne State University.

Photo provided by Katrina Prohaszka

 Erin Luetz, a circulation clerk at the Shelby Township Library, graduated May 5 with  a master’s degree in library science from Wayne State University and will now be a full-fledged librarian. She has been with the library for almost 10 years.

Erin Luetz, a circulation clerk at the Shelby Township Library, graduated May 5 with a master’s degree in library science from Wayne State University and will now be a full-fledged librarian. She has been with the library for almost 10 years.

Photo provided by Erin Luetz

 Heather Rochon is a circulation clerk and has been at the library for five years.  She graduated with a master’s degree in library science from Wayne State University.

Heather Rochon is a circulation clerk and has been at the library for five years. She graduated with a master’s degree in library science from Wayne State University.

Photo provided by Heather Rochon

SHELBY TOWNSHIP — Three Shelby Township Library employees took a big step forward recently as they followed their dreams to become librarians.

The library employees — Erin Luetz, Heather Rochon and Katrina Prohaszka — decided to pursue degrees in library science and worked their way through graduate school.

All three work as circulation clerks and found that they love the job.

Katie Ester, the Shelby Township Library director, said she is proud of the three women’s accomplishments.

“I’m so proud of our three employees for deciding to pursue a degree in library science and then working their way through graduate school. I have been in that position, working full time as well as attending graduate school full time, and it takes passionate dedication and ceaseless hard work,” she said in an email.

“Our new librarians juggled all of their graduate school projects, papers and intense study while providing top-notch service to our community at the Shelby Township Library. I am delighted to call these three women compatriots in librarianship and look forward to seeing them make their mark in our field,” said Ester.

She said it is not at all common that a library has such an occurrence.

“This is such a rare phenomena for a library to have three homegrown librarians!” said Ester.

The three librarians graduated May 5 at Wayne State University.

During their time at the library, the Friends of the Library awarded each of them educational scholarships to continue their studies.

Luetz, of Clinton Township, has worked at the library for almost 10 years and full time for about three years.

While working at the library, she went to school full time and received generous educational gifts from the library’s Friends organization, and some tuition reimbursement from the township as well.

“I can’t put to words how excited I am to graduate and begin my journey as a librarian. It’s such a wonderful field, and I can’t wait to be a part of it. I have spent a lot of long nights trying to balance both my job and homework, but it’s been worth the effort,” she said via email.

“I’ve wanted to be a librarian for a very long time. I used to ride my bike down to my local library almost every day when I was young, and I’ve never wanted to leave since,” said Luetz.

“I’ve learned a lot of great things in the program. I’ve learned everything from how to find hard-to-locate information to how to plan a storytime, and I’ve already been able to put these skills to use helping patrons at the library.”

She said there are many reasons why she enjoys working at the Shelby Township Library.

“I love working at the library because it gives me the ability to help and be a part of the community. I’ve watched little kids from storytime grow up in the library, and it’s been great watching them turn into readers in their own right. I honestly can’t imagine a better place to work,” said Luetz.

Prohaszka, of Rochester, who is also a circulation clerk, has worked at the library for almost a year and loves working at the library because of the potential impact it can have on other lives.

She went to school full time and was grateful to receive a scholarship from the library’s Friends of the Library group.

“I am ecstatic that I have finally completed my degree to become a librarian — the library was a fundamental part of my upbringing as a child, and some of my fondest memories were made in the library,” she said via email. “I’ve been looking forward to a time when I can finally pay it forward and help others in the community, and hopefully make a positive impact in the same way the library did for me! It was certainly a struggle trying to balance school, work and my personal life; at one point, I was working three jobs while going to school full time, so chaos reigned for a while until I was able to find a healthy balance for everything.”

Prohaszka said that she knew she wanted to work with people and books, and a librarian does those things.

“When I was little, I used to say that I was going to retire as a librarian because the thought of sitting in a room filled with books all day was absolutely thrilling to me. I’m not sure why I thought I’d be a librarian only in retirement, but that is my earliest memory of thinking about my future career. I knew I wanted to work with people and books, and be able to help others through the library. I decided to move up my timeline a bit earlier, so I chose to pursue librarianship now, instead of waiting for retirement to roll around.”

Prohaszka said the classes she took taught her lessons that will help her do better at her job and for her patrons.

“My program was invaluable in teaching me the fundamental philosophies and ethics of what it means to be a librarian and to work in a library. By understanding these basic values, I have the knowledge and ability to understand the environment that I work in, and better help and serve my patrons because of it,” she said.

Rochon, of Shelby Township, who is also a circulation clerk, has been working at the library for five years and loves working at the library because of the friendly environment, the people, the services, all the books and what the library stands for.

Rochon went to school full time and worked full time between multiple jobs. She received a few scholarships from Shelby Township’s Friends of the Library, from Wayne State University’s School of Information Science, and from a memorial scholarship in honor of Linda Champion, a former Suburban Library Cooperative librarian.

She was grateful for the scholarship honors and the help in paying for her education.

“I’m very excited to be graduating with my master’s degree after three years of hard work. It was a tough balance between work and school, especially with heavy homework loads, but I had a lot of support along the way,” she said in an email interview.

“Now that I’ve finished school, I will be a substitute librarian at Shelby. I also work as an intern at the Southfield Public Library,” said Rochon.

She said she never considered being a librarian until she started actually working in a library, which she did as a part-time job while completing her undergrad degree.

She also took specialized classes for a certificate in services to children and young adults, which will help in the field as she looks to become a youth librarian.

“The certificate isn’t a grad school requirement, but it can be valuable to have,” she said.

“I love going to work knowing that I’m going to a place that does so much for the community and, in turn, means a lot to the community.”  said Rochon.

Later in May, the library will celebrate with a staff party to mark the trio’s accomplishment.