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Meet Cass County Public Library’s Branch Managers: Bringing Cass County Together with Informational, Educational, and Enrichment Services

Libraries are not just buildings with four walls and books. They are a place of knowledge, culture, and community. At Cass County Public Library we take pride in our dedicated team of branch managers who serve as the driving force behind the functioning of our library system. 

We invite you to get to know these extraordinary individuals who all play a pivotal role in shaping your library experience at Cass County Public Library. 


Cherie Pemberton – Archie Branch

Meet Cherie Pemberton!

Originally from La Monte, MO, Cherie now lives in Harrisonville with her husband. She has two children and a grandson and enjoys reading, card making, spending time with her family, and attending church. 

Cherie first served as a volunteer for Cass County Public Library. She jumped at the opportunity when a sub position opened up at the Archie Branch. The patrons and staff are what keep her coming back. 

What excites Cherie most about serving CCPL is the opportunity to grow. 

We moved into our current location 3 years ago and I hope to bring more and more people from the surrounding areas into our location,” Cherie said. “I want to show them that the library is not just for books. We have so much more to offer!”

Cherie’s current favorite author is Sara Brunsvold.


Amy Burkholder – Bookmobile / Outreach Coordinator

Meet Amy Burkholder!

Born and raised in Jefferson City, MO, Amy moved to the area to get her bachelor’s degree at UMKC. While figuring out life, she met her husband and moved to Cass County. They have a daughter, two cats, and three fish. 

Before coming to CCPL, Amy held various jobs – from grocery bagger to doughnut maker, to delivery to switchboard operator – all of which prepared her in some way for her role as Bookmobile Manager and Outreach Services Coordinator, aka Chaos Coordinator. (Yes, even doughnut maker!) Amy started as a substitute library assistant at the Bookmobile and quickly found “diesel in [her] veins”. Now she manages the Bookmobile and other outreach services like Library by Mail and the Peculiar Express Kiosk.

“I love serving the community I live in,” Amy said.

Amy enjoys reading, as well as etymology and board games – do not get her started on Cities and Knights. Amy also claims to have had a PhD in science enthusiasm ever since she can remember. 

“I get to do what I love, with product I love, with people I love,” Amy said. 

Amy’s favorite series (because the Marketing Coordinator asked her to pick just one) is Discworld by Sir Terry Pratchett. Her favorite book from the series is Monstrous Regiment.


Ellen Connor – Drexel Branch

Meet Ellen Connor!

Ellen is a Kansas City, MO native. She enjoys crafts such as quilting, embroidery, cross-stitch, and more. Upon retiring from education after 30 years – 10 years teaching special education and 20 years in special education administration – Ellen spoke with a person who worked at CCPL about a position opening. Although she applied for the Genealogy position, she was offered the position at Drexel. 

“After meeting Amber and Glenna, I accepted the position,” Ellen said. “I have enjoyed nine years of working with the staff and community of Drexel.”

Ellen is most looking forward to finding other adult programs that patrons will enjoy. Currently, at Drexel Branch there is Stitchin’ Time, Book Club, and Cook the Book regularly. Ellen also has an adult craft or card-making program during the Winter Reading and Summer Library Program that she enjoys hosting.

Ellen reads a variety of books including historical fiction and cozy mysteries – usually, she is trying to find the next Book Club book. Her favorite authors are Nicholas Sparks and Jennifer Chiaverini. 


Jana Riggs – Garden City

Meet Jana Riggs!

Originally from the Garden City/Creighton area, Jana is no stranger to the library. She even helped add barcodes to the Garden City books in preparation for the CCPL catalog to go online when she was in high school. Just like Jana, her kids grew up in the library and now they, along with Jana’s husband, volunteer their time and attend programs.

“I’ve always had a love for stories,” Jana said. “Reading them, watching, listening, creating my own – I just can’t get enough. What better employment than the keeper, and sharer, of stories?”

Because Garden City Branch is her hometown library, it holds such a special place in Jana’s life. She sees that the branch is an integral part of the community, a hub of information, with a built-in expert to help patrons navigate the catalog, apps, technology, and shelves. But the library is more than just books! 

“The library provides a place for kids and teens to learn and play and for families to spend time together,” Jana said. “A place where people can connect with each other and just spend time in a space with no expectations of obligation or expense.”

Jana shared that she loves learning new things and then being able to host programs around those activities. Working at CCPL allows her to keep people learning and exploring the world around them. She is especially excited about CCPL’s Exploration Library and the game collection, noting that just at Garden City there are over 70 circulating games, Pickleball sets, ukuleles, and STEM kits – all available for checkout!

Jana is a big poetry fan, especially the modernist poets. And, of course, she loves the classics. Lately, she’s been reading more non-fiction and graphic novels. She also loves a good picture book and an excuse to read aloud with all the voices.


Sam Farr – Genealogy

Meet Sam Farr!

Practically a lifelong resident of Cass County, Sam has two daughters, Sofia and Nayeli, and three guinea pigs named Peen, Herm, and Megatron. In her spare time, Sam’s favorite thing to do is research and learn about a variety of topics – especially history. 

“Want to learn about pioneer life? I can help you out! Need to change the blower motor in your car? I can walk you through it! Curious about the bovine circulatory system? Let’s find out together,” Sam shared. 

Sam loves working at CCPL because she is surrounded by information all day, allowing her to learn anything she is curious about (without racking up any of those pesky student loans). And of course, Sam gets to share her knowledge with others.

“At CCPL, everybody who comes in is looking for information,” Sam said. “So everybody wins!”

Sam is a big fan of historical fiction and dystopian literature. Her favorite author is Philippa Gregory and her favorite book is The Stand by Stephen King.


Karen Allen – Harrisonville

Meet Karen Allen!

A Cass County native, Karen grew up in Belton going to the library on Main Street, and graduated from Mizzou. She has lived in Harrisonville for 27th years with her husband and two twin daughters. When her family moved, she took her girls to storytime at the Harrisonville Branch. Karen has served at CCPL since 2004 and enjoys outdoor activities including camping, snow skiing, and gardening. 

“I love the friendships I have formed with coworkers and patrons,” Karen said. “I am happy I get to work at the Harrisonville Branch in a community and library system that I am proud to call home.” 

Karen enjoys reading the books by Emily Henry.


Rod Inman – Northern Resource Center

Meet Rod Inman! 

A Kansas native, Rod loves to read, hike, hunt, and fish. He and his family came to Missouri while he served in the Army. Belton was his last duty station before he retired. Rod shares that he enjoys the hometown library feel with the great people that are present at CCPL. 

“I get to work with brilliant staff and learn something from them every day,” Rod said. “I am anxious to see this library system and, specifically, my branch grow.”

Rod’s favorite book is Fahrenheit 451 and his favorite author is Gary Paulsen.


Monica Hoenshell – Pleasant Hill

Meet Monica Hoenshell!

A Kansas City native, Monica grew up across from the Royals and Chiefs stadiums. Growing up, she and her sisters would go to the Kansas City Public Library located in Van Horn High School to check out books every couple of weeks. Eventually, her family relocated to their family farm near Pleasant Hill where Monica graduated from high school. Monica married a “‘Ray-Pec’ guy” and later, in 2002, their children got them involved in 4-H. She and her husband continue to work with the 4-H kids, garden, read, and spend as much time as possible with their grandchildren. 

In 2004, Monica began working at the Pleasant Hill Branch as a 20-hour part-time library assistant under Marianna Decker. In 2006, Monica left the branch to work full-time elsewhere but called Marianna two weeks later to see if she could still be a Saturday sub. In 2016, Monica returned to Pleasant Hill Branch full-time as the Branch Manager. 

“I love working with people and assisting them to find whatever material they are needing,” Monica said. “It makes me happy and proud to know that the library is a place patrons can come and feel welcome and important, and knowing that we can make a difference for someone every day.” 

Monica’s favorite series are C.J. Box’s Cody Hoyt and Cassie Dewell. Her favorite WWII book is Beneath a Scarlett Sky by Mark Sullivan.

Our branch managers are instrumental in bringing Cass County Public Library’s mission to life every day. Their dedication and passion for serving the community are truly inspiring and we are grateful for the contributions that they make to our library system.

Next time you visit Cass County Public Library, make sure to say hello to these remarkable individuals!