Karin Michel

Karin Michel photo


Youth & Family Experiences Manager


Chapel Hill Public Library



Graduation year:

"Have fun. Know your own strengths. Discover aspects of the profession that bring you joy."

What was your educational and professional background before coming to SILS?

I came straight from an undergraduate program at Virginia Tech, where I double majored in Spanish and International Studies.

How has your career progressed since you graduated SILS?

I worked for two years in a paraprofessional position in Youth Services at the Chapel Hill Public Library, then moved into my current position (formerly Head of Youth Services, now Youth & Family Experiences Manager). As the library has grown, so has my career progressed!

In your current employment, what are your job duties and responsibilities?

I manage the Youth & Family Division staff and volunteers. I work to ensure an engaging, responsive, customer-focused experience for all library customers with special focus on the kids and teen rooms. I am also responsible for developing, implementing, and assessing policies and procedures; overseeing relevant and responsive youth materials collections; and creating and supporting a physical environment that promotes discovery of materials and decreases barriers to access.

I develop and deploy creative strategies for improving programs and services for youth and families, which means translating organizational goals into projects that improve the library’s current offerings and create new opportunities. I use data and feedback for assessment, planning, and resource allocation, and as we incorporate emerging trends and technologies, I review and refine the vision for our division.

I provide departmental and organizational leadership, contributing to the library leadership team, collaborating with other library managers and departments on special projects, and working with other Chapel Hill departments on town-wide projects and teams.

What projects have gotten you most excited and/or what accomplishments have made you the proudest?

Being part of the team to plan and execute the logistics of the library expansion (moving in and out of temporary quarters, working on a building plan, working on a major colldev plan, etc.)

Continuous growth in youth circulation and program attendance over time.

Watching SILS field experience students go on to fulfilling jobs around the country, and hearing from them that their time at CHPL prepared them well.

What inspires or motivates you?

Connecting with people. Helping inspire learning or finding that perfect book.

Repeat customers. High fives from kids.

Is there any other information you would like to share, or any advice you would like to offer current or future SILS students?

Have fun. Know your own strengths. Discover aspects of the profession that bring you joy.