Woodbury librarian closes book on career at Metropolitan State UniversityWoodbury resident, and local librarian, Adela Pezkorz retired recently after 32 years in the industry.
By: Amber Kispert-Smith, Woodbury Bulletin
Woodbury resident Adela Peskorz didn’t have the easiest childhood. As the daughter of two Holocaust survivors she spent much of her childhood in fear.
“You can’t survive that without being broken in some fundamental way,” she said. “I grew up with a very real sense that there is much to fear – it’s a dark world.”
Peskorz, who grew up in New York, was able to find solace in her local library.
“I was one of those kids who found sanctuary in the library,” she said. “You see what people are capable of, what they can survive and what they can overcome – it keeps you open to the world and open to possibilities.”
Peskorz turned her love of libraries and books into a 32-year career as a librarian.
She recently retired from Metropolitan State University with professor emeritus status after having worked at the college for 15 years.
“I feel like this is about regrouping,” she said.
Checking out different libraries
Peskorz studied to become a librarian at Syracuse University in New York.
“Librarians care about making a difference for people,” she said. “It’s about empowering people and about improving lives.”
However, after leaving college, Peskorz had changed her views about being a librarian.
“I left library school and I swore I would never, never step foot in a library for a job,” she said. “It was such an academic and dry course of study – there was no way I’m walking into that career.”
Peskorz jumped from job to job over the years including freelance work and working for an advertising agency.
However, she eventually saw a posting for a young adult librarian position at the New York Public Library.
“I thought ‘Oh, what the hell, I need a job,’” she said. “Within one week in the real world, I saw how this was such a natural home for me.”
Peskorz eventually moved to Woodbury with her family 21 years ago where she started work at the Minneapolis Public Library as a substitute librarian.
It was in 1997 when Peskorz saw a posting for a librarian at Metropolitan State, which was perfect for her, she said, since she was looking for a change.
However, the job at Metropolitan State was far from perfect.
“At that point, the library was a room with a few bookshelves,” Peskorz said. “So much of work was going door to door, class to class and creating a presence for the library.”
Metropolitan State now shares space on its St. Paul campus with the St. Paul Public Library.
“It went from that first brick to a full-fledged building,” she said. “It’s really taken on a life of its own.”
During her tenure at Metropolitan State University Peskorz not only ran the school’s library, but also became a professor for several classes including adolescent literature, beginning and advanced courses on information access.
Peskorz also taught a course on genocide and Holocaust studies.
“My students always say I’m not your typical librarian,” she said.
Additionally during her tenure with Metropolitan State University she developed the Teens Know Best reading group.
Now that Peskorz is retired, she still continues to teach a few classes online, continues with her teen groups and will stay on staff at Metropolitan State University as a community faculty member.
Peskorz has also started writing more and is considering a career in alternative healing therapies.
She said she has loved every day of her career as a librarian.
“I love reading, I love books and that’s all part of it but that would never have been enough incentive,” she said. “It’s about being able to share what I know in a way that has meaning for someone else.”