Director, Way Public Library
"Once I took that first class, I just couldn't get enough of college"
Associate of Science General Concentration, AS
Profile of Excellence:
Owens Community College Alumna
Born in Lake Orion, Michigan, Janel Haas graduated from high school in Olathe, Kansas in 1977 and started working at the local Kmart.
"Growing up in rural Kansas, I never thought of going to college because that's not what women did at that time," said Haas.
When her stepfather, a minister, was transferred to the Toledo area, she moved with the family.
After years in retail, she felt the need for a change and applied for a library clerk position at the Way Public Library. After a few years as a clerk, she moved into the Cataloging Department.
In her mid-thirties, with her library career well established, Haas began taking classes at Owens Community College. She remembers her Composition II instructor, Tim Best, as a particular favorite and describes him as a very gifted teacher.
"Once I took that first class, I just couldn't get enough of college," said Haas.
In addition to her library job, Haas worked for the Perrysburg Schools as a bus driver and dispatcher. While helping a disabled parent and a younger sister, it was a challenge to fit college coursework into her schedule.
She graduated in 1999 with an Associate of Arts majoring in psychology. All credits except for one class were accepted when she transferred to Lourdes College, where she earned her bachelor's degree in psychology in May 2002. Encouraged by then library director, Nancy Kelley, she earned a Master of Library and Information Science from Kent State University in December 2003.
Haas became the Library Director in 2010. She is responsible for maintaining the collection and building, managing the staff, programming and representing the library in the community. She still works the information desk at least once a week to keep in touch with the patrons.
The library is busy with 30,000 current card holders, 325,000 visits in 2011, and more than 700,000 books circulated per year. Though books are still the main focus, the library has expanded its digital media and programming in recent years.
"The library is a community center with a wide array of events and programs for all ages, from pre-school to senior citizens," says Haas. "These offerings will continue to grow."
Haas frequently encourages young people to go to college and says with pride, "Owens is the place to start - they have everything you need and you can get the whole college experience there."
She considers Owens to be the area's number one choice in terms of what the college offers, the convenient location, ease of access and affordability.
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Contact Laura Moore at (567) 661-7410 or firstname.lastname@example.org