JCPL’s White River Branch manager leads a bustling library alongside a “great staff”
As branch manager of the White River Branch of the Johnson County Public Library, Linda Kilbert is in charge of keeping the library going and improving. She leads the busiest branch in the JCPL system.
In November alone, 24,000 items were checked out – the second busiest branch being Franklin with 16,000 items checked out.
Kilbert is originally from Elkhart, Ind. While completing her undergraduate degree in Cleveland, Ohio, she chose to do her internship in Indianapolis. There, she took some classes in library science and enjoyed it enough that she completed the program. She took a job at the medical library at Indiana University, then at Marian College before coming to the Johnson County Public Library 18 years ago.
Kilbert served at the Franklin branch as a librarian, then department manager, for 13 years. In July 2013, she was chosen to become the White River Branch manager.
“We’ve done a lot of work with the staff on making it a pleasant library experience,” she said. “We have a great staff. It is the busiest branch, so you see a lot of people, a lot of activity. It’s very urban. So we get all ages and just a variety of people. There’s always something happening.”
The library is getting ready to start developing a new strategic plan, which will cover 2019 – 2023, and Kilbert said she hopes to be a part of that process.
Librarians within each branch help to coordinate the programs that are open to the public. In 2017, Kilbert organized the Solar Eclipse Viewing Party, offering activities for individuals and families looking to watch the eclipse on Aug. 21. For the most part, though, her background is in “the adult world of libraries,” so she enjoys the ability to helping patrons and doing a little detective work.
“There’s always a mystery to solve and something to figure out and when you do, you know you’ve helped somebody and made a different for them – students doing research or someone trying to figure out how to deal with a health issue,” she said.
Outside her role as branch manager, Kilbert, a resident on the edge of White River Township in Bargersville, is active in the Franklin Community Band where she plays the trombone.
“It’s a Johnson County staple,” she said. “We’re smaller and do a lot of outreach concerts to like the Franklin Methodist community. That’s a fun way to be part of the community. I help not only as a player, but I research the songs and narrate at concerts. That’s where I can get my library influence in there, and educate people about the songs we’re playing.”
She is also involved on the Purdue Extension’s Johnson County Wellness Team, as staff wellness coordinator at the library.
Here, learn more about our January ICON of the Month, Linda Kilbert.
What do you consider your greatest virtue?
Empathy. I strive to look at things from others’ perspectives and try to understand their viewpoint.
What do you most deplore in others?
Dishonesty and self-centeredness
What do you like most about living in Center Grove?
I live in Bargersville, but work in Center Grove area. I like the convenience of making a quick trip to a variety of stores and restaurants. The area is not too congested yet, but I fear it’s heading that way.
If you had to live anywhere else in the Metro Indianapolis area, where would it be?
Somewhere out in the country, perhaps in southern Johnson County, away from suburbs and crowded housing divisions.
If you could begin life over, what would you change?
In college I would major in graphic design and marketing. I like the challenge of communicating via visual images and 2D design.
If money were no issue, how would you spend it?
I would buy a house in the country with several acres of natural areas and a pond to attract and support wildlife, donate to several animal charities, and travel around the world.
What makes you happiest?
When I can do or say something to make others happy.
What is your favorite vacation spot?
Maui, Hawaii is now my favorite, but I also enjoy the Smokey Mountains, Yellowstone and Michigan.
What do you do with idle time?
Read, do crossword puzzles, bird-watch, play guitar or ukulele, work outside in the yard, go for a walk.
What is it that makes you angry?
When someone treats others unfairly, are inconsiderate, or intentionally cheat and lie.
What do you do to escape from reality?
Read, watch tv, play piano, or play solitaire on my phone.
What or who is the greatest love of your life?
My pets, especially my cat Bailey. He is part Manx, so he doesn’t have a tail. But he doesn’t let that stop him. He often zooms around the house, jumping to the highest point on the tippy top of the bookshelves. He can also spend the evening snuggling on my lap. Bailey is my little sweetie.
Which living person in Center Grove do you most admire?
My friend, Stephanie. She has had some significant health problems, but is still happy and upbeat. Her strong faith and positive outlook are very inspiring. Whenever we’re together we end up laughing uproariously. Her smile always brightens my day.
What is the quality you like most in a man?
Kindness and sense-of-humor.
What is the quality you like most in a woman?
Kindness and sense-of-humor.
What is your greatest extravagance?
I recently went on a trip to Hawaii and also bought a new car.
What are your fears/phobias?
Suffocation, claustrophobia, being physically restrained.
What has been the happiest time of your life?
I’d have to say right now. I have a great job where I can make a difference, a wonderful family, delightful pets and good health.
Which talent would you most like to possess?
I’d love to be able to sing well.
What do you most value in your friends?
Good sense of humor, honesty, loyalty, open-minded, strong faith.
Which historical figure do you most admire?
Jesus. He’s more than an historical figure. He’s God.
What is your greatest regret?
I regret that I’m not more outgoing. When meeting new people I am often quiet and rather awkward at mingling.
What tenet do you live by?
Love God and with His help live according to the principles in the Bible. Treat others fairly and kindly, be positive, and share laughter whenever possible. Eat healthy and be active. Do what you enjoy and enjoy what you do!