Sarah Strunz reaches out to Orfordville through library, volunteering
Family: Husband Gary, son Adam, daughter Amanda and three grandchildren.
Pets: A dog named Rugar and many farm cats
Favorite books: "Tuesdays with Morrie" and "The Noticer." "Those would be my two favorites today," she said.
Favorite food: Tapioca pudding
Favorite place: "I love the ocean—anywhere that I could walk on the beach."
Favorite hobbies: "I love to sew. I just got done re-covering my couch." She also enjoys reading—of course—and playing softball.
If someone gave you $1,000, how would you spend it: "I think … figure out a trip to take with my husband."
Three words that best describe you: Sassy—"My nieces would say that"—kind and hard-working.
ORFORDVILLE When a workspace is too small, make it bigger.
That's what Sarah Strunz has done with her outreach efforts as librarian at the Orfordville Public Library.
The cramped library is smaller than many houses—only 1,200 square feet in two stories at the corner of Beloit, Center and Spring streets downtown.
A lack of computers and space didn't stop Strunz from finding ways to offer computer classes and story times around the community. She understands the importance of a local library, and she is helping to plan a new library that she hopes to see built in the next couple of years.
"When I come to work, I feel like I'm providing a service that wouldn't be provided in any other way," she said.
Strunz is very enthusiastic and does a lot of outreach in the community, said Ruth Ann Montgomery, director of the Arrowhead Library System.
"She really makes that library a vital part of the Orfordville scene," she said.
Strunz didn't have a desire to be a librarian until she worked for the Parkview School District.
After graduating from Janesville Parker, she married her high school sweetheart, Gary, started a family and worked part-time jobs. The couple eventually settled on a farm south of Orfordville, where Gary milks about 120 cows with his brother.
Much of her 16 years at Parkview were spent working in the library, where she helped automate it from card catalogues to computers.
That's what made her want a job as a librarian, she said.
"Librarianship isn't just books. That's the wonder of it," she said. "It's also helping people find jobs, helping kids with their homework, helping someone learn a computer skill, and so many more."
She juggled raising her two kids, Adam and Amanda, while working and attending school at UW-Rock County and UW-Whitewater. And she still found time to devote to her church and community.
She smiled as she described "the best time" she had volunteering at high school events, sharing her love of sewing as a 4-H leader, and coaching and umpiring softball.
"So much of what I do is just a part of who I am," she said.
Outside of library work, Strunz cares for her mother, who has Alzheimer's disease and lives with her. She also does a variety of volunteer work, much of it through Footville Church of Christ.
On Friday nights, you'll find her providing a safe, fun night for elementary school kids in a youth group program.
"She's a grandma to everyone, yet you wouldn't ever know she is a grandma by looking at her," said Jill Thomson, who works with Strunz on a variety of church efforts.
Her fellow church members say she will give whatever people ask.
"She never has a negative spirit … she gives and gives and gives until you think she has nothing left to give, and then she finds more to give," Thomson said.