Library programs coordinator Karen Newsome named Employee of the Year


St. Johns County Library Programs Coordinator Karen Newsome recently received the Employee of the Year honor at the annual St. Johns County Service Awards, held at River House, 179 Marine St., St. Augustine.

Newsome began her career with the St. Johns County Public Library System on May 10, 1993. She started at the Ponte Vedra Beach Branch Library and has since worked at four library branches, the Bookmobile and in library administration.

Currently, Newsome is the program coordinator in the Youth Services team at the Southeast Branch, where she fulfills her dream of working with children. She can often be found singing and dancing during story times, teaching a group of teens how to cook, constructing new and exciting activities for tweens, or instructing a room of children (and their parents) how to investigate crimes using science and technology.

There is no task too big or small that Newsome won’t take on to make her programs more enjoyable for all. She is an innovative collaborator and strong leader, always keeping the patron’s perspective in mind. Newsome’s colleagues describe her as patient, enthusiastic, knowledgeable and incredibly hardworking. She approaches any challenging situation with thoughtful consideration and creative ideas, working diligently until the issue is resolved.

Newsome is a mother of two daughters, Mallory and Marissa, and will soon be a first-time grandmother. She is engaged to be married to her fiancé, Mark, in March. In her free time, Newsome enjoys raising and releasing monarch butterflies. On the library system’s team, she brings creativity, positivity and dedication to her job daily.

Including Newsome, this year’s iteration of the County Service Awards saw 188 employees recognized for 5, 10, 15, 20, 25, 30 and 35 years of service. Joy Andrews, St. Johns County Administrator, welcomed and congratulated the honorees.

“Today, we celebrate a combined 2,770 years of service to our community,” St. Johns County Commissioner Sarah Arnold said. “Yes, you heard me correctly, 2,770 years! That is incredible – but even more so, it is inspirational. It is amazing to think that we have so many professionals who come to work as public servants to make St. Johns County a better place to call home.”