WAUSAU — What started as temporary employment for Wausau native Marla over 30 years ago turned into a long-lasting career.

Marla Sepnafski

When she earned a bachelor’s degree in physical education, Sepnafski’s initial career choice was to be a teacher. After graduation, she looked for employment in the Wausau area.

In 1981, Sepnafski was hired by the Wisconsin Valley Library Service in a part-time role that consisted of mostly clerical duties. Headquartered in Wausau, WVLS supports 36 public community libraries in Clark, Forest, Langlade, Lincoln, Marathon, Oneida and Taylor counties. Sepnafski thought this role would only be temporary.

“Much to my surprise,” Sepnafski said, “I found the work fascinating. I thought that library work would be structured and quiet. I couldn’t have been more wrong.”

She never looked back.

Eventually, Sepnafski took on more responsibilities within the organization, and earned her Master’s of Library Science in 1991. Following a national search, Sepnafski became WVLS executive director in 2007.

Under Sepnafski’s leadership, WVLS has evolved and responded as changes in society, digital resources, and information technology created new demands and opportunities in libraries.

Sepnafski was recently recognized for her leadership and accomplishments by the Wisconsin Library Association (WLA), earning the 2019 Librarian of the Year award.  Sepnafski will receive her award in October at the WLA Annual Conference.

“Marla’s nomination and testimonial letters cited her leadership, innovation, collaboration and high standards of exceptional service,” said Anna Palmer, chairwoman of the WLA Awards and Honors Committee, in a news release. “The impressions from Marla’s staff, colleagues and local library directors strongly echoed her accomplishments over a long career in the library profession.”

Source: Wisconsin Valley Library Service