Tualatin librarian and Makerspace chief extraordinaire Kit Lorelied was named the city’s 2022 Employee of the Year for their work in the popular creation space and throughout the library.
“It’s a pleasure. It’s an absolute pleasure,” Lorelied said of the honor and their work during a March 13, city council meeting where the award was presented.
Lorelied, who began as an on-call librarian in 2008, was promoted through part and full-time positions with the library before being promoted to Tualatin’s first full-time Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math (STEAM) librarian in May 2021.
They have been instrumental in growing and maintaining a hands-on space that makes exploration and creation accessible to the entire community by providing access to 3-D printers, button makers, sewing machines, a tabletop kiln, leather working tools, and other materials and equipment that may be too expensive to own.
“Kit has embraced this role helping create a space that genuinely excites our community,” City Manager Sherilyn Lombos said. “Kit has made a space that is user-friendly with very few barriers to access.”
Since its opening in Sept. 2021, the space has had more than 3,500 visitors, and between assisting patrons, Lorelied does everything from creating programming to troubleshooting 3-D printers to threading sewing machines.
Through the library, the city has focused on STEAM for the past number of years, particularly since competing for and winning an America’s Best Communities Award, which focused on STEAM programs. Out of that came the idea for a Makersspance,” Lombos said.
Lorelied was among 12 people from six departments nominated by colleagues and chosen by city officials as the 2022 recipient for their constant initiative, work with the public, and “turning a corner library into an explosion of engineering, science, creativity, and straight-up fun,” Mayor Frank Bubenik said, reading from a proclamation.
The document went on to recognize Lorelied’s work throughout the library, praising their relationship with a diverse population of library patrons.
“They can help a four-year-old find a dinosaur book, turn around and help a senior do genealogy research, track down a warming shelter for a houseless patron, and then pivot to recommend a slate of graphic novels to an eager teen,” the proclamation declares. “All with the wonderful sense of humor that endears them to coworkers and patrons alike.”