Four New Staff Members Join Madison Public Library
There are quite a few new faces at Madison Public Library in the last couple months, particularly at Central Library. Madison Public Library Foundation Communications Intern Cassie Hurwitz interviewed each of them to demonstrate why they were drawn to the library and what they do in their new roles.
Hannah Peschek, Visitor Services Specialist
Visitor Services Specialist Hannah Peschek loves travel, weddings and dogs. She credits her events internship with the library as the reason she fell in love with weddings – and the library.
Peschek was previously the Event Director at Jazz at Five, where she managed sponsors, band bookings, social media and more. Library work isn’t all Peschek does. As a member of the guide dog training organization OccuPaws, the National Wedding Planners Association and the Rising Tide Society, she has her hands full. But that’s not stopping her from adopting a Newfoundland puppy with her boyfriend in the fall.
When she’s not buying toys for her future dog or dreaming about wedding planning, Peschek is planning for something else: travel. “I love to travel,” she gushes. “I’ve been to Guatemala, Panama, Colombia, and Aruba. I spent three months traveling Costa Rica and Nicaragua. My next big trip will be to Europe.”
As she finishes out her meeting and event management degree from Madison College, Hannah will continue to supervise not only weddings, but also bar and bat mitzvahs,government meetings and other special events in the libraries.
Annie Weatherby-Flowers, Community Engagement Coordinator
One of the most important pieces of Madison Public Library’s success is building connections with the community. In April, the library demonstrated its commitment to fostering community relations by adding a Community Engagement Coordinator position.
Annie Weatherby-Flowers has worked for the city of Madison twice since her move here in 1989. Born in Louisiana but considering Milwaukee her hometown, she enjoys being involved in the community as well as traveling, shopping and history – especially related to black and African culture.
She was previously a Community Organizer in Milwaukee, and Education Outreach Coordinator in Madison. She holds a B.S. in organizational behaviors and leadership, and a master’s in education.
As Community Engagement Coordinator, Weatherby-Flowers says she wants to establish a presence and a voice that reflects and promotes the library’s mission and its commitment to equity for individuals, organizations and neighborhoods throughout the city. Libraries in general are interesting to Weatherby-Flowers because of “their significance [and] historical presence in cities throughout the world.” With Madison Public Library, she hopes to improve the library’s presence in Madison.
Martin Alvarado, Community Engagement Librarian for Business & Technology
Madison Public Library’s newest librarian, Martin Alvarado, has been working at the library for nearly 20 years, so he’s covered lots of ground. After working at Monroe Street, Goodman South and Lakeview, he’s at Central Library, using the skills he’s amassed to assist patrons with business and technology resources.
He’s especially passionate about equity and ensuring that everyone has access to the library. Alvarado works with three librarians to determine community needs, and responds to them with resources and events. He’s also involved with Spoke-n-words, the library’s bicycle-powered bookmobile.
His library success isn’t a surprise; it runs in the family. “I was lucky to have had two librarians in my family, my grandmother and my aunt, who made the library a magical place for me,” he says.
Alvarado was born in Mexico City and moved to Madison in the mid-1990s, earning an associate degree in art with an emphasis in journalism and French from MATC, and a B.S. in geology and geophysics from UW-Madison. He’s enrolled in the UW-Milwaukee library information science master’s program.
Alvarado lives with his wife, two children, two dogs, one cat and four chickens. When he’s not working, he’s biking, listening to music, reading and co-hosting a Monday morning radio show on WORT Community Radio 89.9 FM.
Kristen Colgin, Marketing & Communications Specialist
Marketing & Communications Specialist Kristen Colgin says the library is helping her learn about Madisonians. She’s interested in understanding community members’ perspectives, experiences and stories in relationship to the library.
Born in McHenry, Ill., Colgin’s family relocated to Genoa City, Wis., during her high school years. Colgin traveled for a couple years post-high school, then earned her bachelor’s degree in English at UW-Stevens Point. She went on to the library information science master’s program at UW-Milwaukee. After graduating in May, she soon found Madison Public Library.
In addition to traveling, Colgin enjoys a newfound love for powerlifting, coming home to the wagging tail of her 5-year-old boxer-pit bull mix, and reading classic novels with flawed characters.
Colgin is looking forward to making a difference with Madison Public Library. “Libraries offer equal access to information and community at a time when, personally, I think we need it most,” she says. “Seeing them rise up to the challenges of today is incredibly exciting, and Madison Public Library has paved the way on many initiatives.”