BARTOW BIO — Barnhart a friend to the community
by Mark Andrews
Oct 30, 2011 | 1530 views | 0 0 comments | 11 11 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Bartow County Friends of the Library President Karen Barnhart spearheads the organization responsible for helping find outside funding for the Bartow County Library System. Through fundraisers like the Oct. 29th craft fair to book sales and 5Ks, the organization brings in thousands for books and supplies.

An avid reader, Barnhart also enjoys spending time with her family, Italian food and is quick on her feet -- not just when getting around Bartow, but on the dance floor as well.

Residence: My family and I moved to Georgia from Mississippi in 2004 and live in the Wellington subdivision of Cartersville.

Family: I am married and have three children, all boys. Our two oldest children are at Georgia Tech and our youngest child is at Cartersville Elementary school.

Education: My background is in Laboratory Medicine and Education. I graduated from Michigan Technological University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Medical Technology and a secondary education certificate. Most of my working career has been spent in hospital laboratories working as a medical technologist and director of laboratory medicine, though I have done some teaching.

What brought you into serving the library?

A. Not long after we moved to Cartersville, the new library facility was being built and I read some information regarding the need for books and media. At that time, it was estimated that $2 million were necessary to purchase books and media in order to bring the Cartersville library up to the national standard for books per capita. Being new to the community and wanting to get involved, I investigated further. What I found when I went to the library and talked with the staff was that they were doing some amazing programming and were excited about the expansion taking place. Their concern was having this big new building and not a lot of books to put on the shelves. I knew that with my background, I could do something about that and I felt called to help. That is when I became involved with "Books for Bartow" and the "Friends of the Library" group.

What is your favorite aspect of working with Friends of the Library?

A. Getting to meet so many interesting people of varied backgrounds all committed to helping the library. In addition, I really like the quarterly used book sales and the great deals that can be found there.

What role do you feel the library serves in the community?

A. I feel that the library's role is to provide resources and services to help meet the informational, educational, cultural and recreational needs of a community, and to do so at little or no cost. The Bartow County Library System excels at this. On any given evening at the Cartersville branch of the library, teens can be found using the study rooms, working on computers, taking classes and using the available Wi-Fi. The same is true for children and adults. Age appropriate technology, classes on using technology, as well as fun informative social events and programming along with a knowledgeable professional staff demonstrates the library is much more than books and resource materials.

What is your greatest achievement?

A. My greatest achievement is raising my incredible family with my husband while maintaining an appropriate balance of work, service and play.

What is something that people would be surprised to know about you?

A. I love to dance! I love to dance to all types of music and most people do not realize that I took and taught Polish and tap dancing for about 15 years before I lived in Georgia.

Where is your favorite place to be in Bartow?

A. My own backyard with my family!

What is your favorite restaurant or favorite food?

A. We have many wonderful restaurants in Cartersville, but I must say I am partial to the Chicken Antonio at Antonino's.

What is your favorite book?

A. That's a difficult question. I love all genres; I read every day but cannot pick a favorite, although I especially loved reading the "Harry Potter" series with my boys when they were young.

Do you have a personal philosophy?

A. My guiding principal is, "do the right thing, for the right reason, at the right time, and everything will come out as it should."