Michele Cornelius is a familiar face at Washington County Library, but now you can catch her most days at Lake Elmo Library as the interim manager (instead of her usual haunt – Park Grove Library). She’s been with WashCoLib for four and a half years, heading this way after stints in an academic library setting doing acquisitions and cataloging, and the Great River Regional Library system in St. Cloud. Michele said she applied for the interim manager position because she thought it was a good opportunity to tackle projects she’s really excited about in a smaller library, focusing on the collection and programming.
“I enjoy working in smaller libraries. In Great River, I worked in smaller, rural branches,” she explained. “I’m also interested in increasing the presence of Lake Elmo Library, both within Washington County Library, but also in the area, and figuring out what exactly does that look like.”
Michele used to break and train horses. (That’s cowboy talk for training untamed horses to be safely ridden.) She says she enjoys the connection you have with the animal and the process to bring them along to trust you. As a kid, she helped on her relative’s ranch in southeastern Montana during the summers.
She’s a musician. She’s been playing the piano since she was 4, and received a music degree in college. Both of her children inherited her musical talent, too. When she’s not at the library, she says she’s visiting them. (Her son is getting married next summer, and her daughter is in school in Toronto, Canada. “The border guards and me are pretty tight,” she joked.) She enjoys gardening and quilting, makes a mean croissant and has perfected her macaron.
If she could have any superpower, she’d choose either omnilingualism or atmokinesis. “I always wanted to work at the UN and learn languages. That was my dream!” she said – so the ability to speak all languages certainly would have come in handy. And as for the power to control the weather, well, that’s because she’s a self-proclaimed weather watcher. “I love weather. All the weather happening everywhere!”
Michele says the best things she’s ever done were build an orphanage in Santa Cruz, Bolivia; teach English in Osaka, Japan; and help build houses after the earthquake in Chincha, Peru.