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Mayhill finds calling as children’s librarian
_amy mayhill
Amy Mayhill is pictured in the children’s department at the Great Bend Public Library, where she is the Youth Services Manager and Assistant Director. - photo by Daniel Kiewel
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Amy Mayhill did not start out wanting to be a librarian. Now that she is, she could not see herself working anywhere else.

Mayhill, a self-described transplant, has been the Great Bend Public Library’s Youth Services Manager and Assistant Director for the last six years. Prior to that, she worked as a children’s librarian in Council Grove before taking an administrative position with the Central Kansas Library System in Great Bend and then moving into her current role.

Although she has not always worked in libraries, Mayhill has always been at home working with children. 

She met her husband Michael, who for nine years has been the store manager at Waters Hardware in Great Bend, while attending Wichita Northwest High School, the high school from which they both graduated.

“We were high school sweethearts. We’ve been lucky to grow together,” Mayhill said. They have been married for 35 years.

Her life did not begin in Kansas, however. Prior to her family moving to Wichita in her sophomore year of high school, Mayhill lived in Florida, Ohio and Nevada. Her father’s work in the airplane industry led the family to move around a lot and eventually brought them to Kansas.

After graduating from Emporia State University with a degree in early education, Mayhill decided to pursue work that allowed her to be home and raise her four children, who are now all grown. 

She worked first in home child care, then in an after-school program for the school system in Council Grove, where the family lived for 20 years. As a mother, Amy and her children spent a lot of time at the library in Council Grove. Eventually a job opened up there for a children’s librarian.

“I thought, ‘Oh, well, that would be fun, I could do that,’” Mayhill said. “But I had no idea what that encompassed.” 

As she got into the work, it hooked her. 

“Once I got into it, it made me even more excited, because you could really touch all of the community by doing that,” she said, “Now, this is where my heart is, being able to meet people of all different walks of life that come in to use the library.”

Mayhill loves watching the wonder in the eyes of the children as they learn new things. “It’s the ‘ah-ha’ moments, the smiles and the giggles. I love it when they learn something new and you can just see it in their eyes.”

She enjoys the opportunity to introduce children to new things through the many different children’s programs that the library offers.

“When you when you sit down and you watch them play or you talk to them, you find out what they need,” she said.

Her goal is to create a place where children can learn, and where they can feel a sense of belonging and of community.

Patty Collins, a Youth Services Consultant for CKLS who has worked with Mayhill since 2015, said her gifts working with children, and the community as a whole, make her a natural fit as the children’s librarian.

Mayhill’s positive attitude is infectious, not only for the children, but her co-workers, as well, Collins said. “Amy ensures children of all ages feel welcome in the Great Bend Public Library. There is always something to do that is certain to bring out the kid in all of us.”

Once Mayhill took on the role of Youth Services Manager, her passion and determination became a boost for the library as a whole. 

“She was determined to bring library magic to the children and families in our area and she has done exactly that,” Collins said. “She strives to bring the same level of events and programs to our community that rival libraries in larger cities like Wichita, Topeka, or Lawrence.”

In addition to Mayhill’s own children, three daughters and one son ranging in age from 19 to 30, she now gets to be a grandmother to four grandchildren, with two more on the way.

Now that her own children are grown, Mayhill said she is looking forward to getting involved with more organizations in the community outside the library.

Her two biggest passions are serving at church and with the 4-H program. She was active in both as a parent in Council Grove and looks forward to getting more involved here in Great Bend. Previously, she had worked as an Awana leader for their church in Council Grove. They are still actively seeking a permanent church home in Great Bend, she said.

“It’s time to jump back in,” she said. “One nice thing about working in the library is I get to hear about a lot of the things and places where the community needs help.”

Describing herself as a creative person, she likes working on art projects outside of work. Although she is still figuring out what her artistic niche is, it is a passion for which her work as a children’s librarian provides a great outlet.

In addition to art, she loves the outdoors, especially camping and practice shooting.

However, her work at the library is still her main passion, and one she does not plan on quitting anytime soon.

“I’ve worked a lot of different places and I think this is where I feel most at home, that I’m making a difference, and that is exciting for me to come to work every day.”

This is where my heart is, being able to meet people of all different walks of life that come in to use the library.
Amy Mayhill