Librarian found happiness in her own neighborhood

By Regina Villiers. Originally published October 8, 2003 in The Suburban Life, added October 16, 2019.

Kathy Kennedy-Brunner sits at her dream desk, in her dream office, on her dream job as the branch manager of Madeira Library.

     Kathy Kennedy-Brunner landed her dream job recently, and Horatio Alger would have had a field day at writing her story, all about how a hometown girl makes good, goes to the top, finds true contentment and lives happily.

     When Kathy became branch manager at Madeira Library in July, she found the end of her rainbow.  And the other end of her rainbow was not far away, on Greenbriar Lane, the Madeira Street where she grew up.

     Kathy grew up in Madeira with a happy sameness to her life. She always lived in the same house on the same Madeira Street, but instead of being bored with that, she loved it. She attended Madeira schools and graduated from Madeira High School.

     She was always a reader.  “My mom read lots,” she said.  But she never really thought about being a librarian until 1991, when she was in high school.  She credits Janie Pyle, former Madeira branch manager, for making her love library work. “She gave me a part-time job,” Kathy said, “as a student assistant, a shelver, at Madeira Library.”

     Kathy bloomed on the job and tells of the fun the student shelvers had.  There was a secret spot on a wall, behind some books, where they left their initials so they’d always be a part of the library.

     Kathy went to college at Xavier University.  From there, she went to University of Kentucky in Lexington where she received her master of library science degree in 1996.

     She has never worked at any job other than library work. After her student assistant days, she was promoted to a part-time library assistant’s job in Madeira in 1993.

     After receiving her MLS degree fro the University of Kentucky, she became a reference librarian at the Green Township branch in February 1997. From there, it was onward and upward. In October 1997, she became children’s librarian at Cheviot.  Then it was a small step to branch manager at Price Hill in 2002.

     Finally, this past July, Kathy attained her dream. Madeira branch librarian Vicki McClure retired, and Kathy succeeded her.

     After Kathy married, she and her husband bought a house just around the corner from where her parents still live in the house where she grew up.  All the time she worked on the west side of Cincinnati she had a long drive to work. Now, she has only a skip and a hop to her job.

     Another lucky aspect is that her parents can baby-sit her 3-½ year old son, Nathan, their only grandson, while she works.

     Kathy’s father is Herman Kennedy who works in the meat department at Madeira’s Kroger store.  Everyone knows Herman.  His smiling face makes him a goodwill ambassador for Kroger.

     And his smiling face is identical to the smiling face of his grandson, Nathan.  “Yeah,” Herman grins, they didn’t name him for me, but he looks like me.”

     Kathy is enthusiastic about her work and has many hopes and plans.  She and her staff are working together to make those hopes come true.  “This is not just a job,” she said.  “We want it to be a community thing.”

     They are taking volunteers to help with various duties-computer support, and to help with children’s programs.

     Madeira already has an impressive program of activities for children.  Kathy wants to expand programs for the community in teen and adult programming. She wants the community to love the library as she does.  “I love this library and this community,” she said.  “I’m a lucky person.

Kathy Kennedy-Brunner has found it all, right in her own neighborhood.  Mr. Rogers would love her.