Bentonville, Arkansas... In May, Bentonville Public Library (BPL) Children’s Librarian, Sue Ann Pekel, announced plans to retire this fall. Pekel began working at Bentonville Public Library in July 2007 as the first professional children’s librarian. She is passionate about and dedicated to inspiring young learners to read and grow. Her efforts have reached hundreds of thousands of children over the years! Prior to joining the Bentonville Public Library team, Sue Ann worked as the Director of Children’s Services at the Rogers Public Library.
Sue Ann is a member of the Arkansas Library Association and the American Library Association. Pekel graduated from Northwest Arkansas Community College with an Associate of Arts degree and John Brown University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Organizational Management. She has a master’s degree in Library Science from Texas Woman’s University.
Although she does not expect commendations for her accomplishments, Pekel has been recognized for her contributions to librarianship: Peggy Sullivan Award for Public Library Administrators Supporting Services to Children by the American Library Association (2019); LaNell Compton Prize for best article in Arkansas Libraries by the Arkansas Library Association (2016); Ann Lightsey Children’s Librarian Award by the Arkansas Library Association (2012).
Christina Clark was recently hired as Pekel’s successor at BPL. Christina grew up in Rogers and earned a bachelor's degree in marketing from the University of Arkansas and a master's degree in Library and Information Science from Florida State University. She spent nine years as a children's librarian in south Louisiana before moving back home to Northwest Arkansas.
Clark is a member of the American Library Association, the Arkansas Library Association and the Junior League of Northwest Arkansas. In 2015, she was honored as the St. Tammany Parish Librarian of the Year for her energy, innovation, hard work and collaboration in the library system. She truly believes that “being a children’s librarian is the greatest job in the world.”
Library Director Hadi Dudley says, “Sue Ann Pekel’s devotion to children’s librarianship is a gift she shared with the Bentonville community for more than 14 years. As we wish her well on the next chapter of her life, we are also pleased to welcome Christina Clark to the BPL team. I know Christina is excited about connecting with our community and sharing the joy of reading with our youngest library patrons.”
Pekel’s last day of work is September 16, with her retirement date scheduled for October 1, 2021. Clark began working at BPL on September 7, 2021.