January 28, 2014

Our Neighbors: Her work is child’s play

By Rob McDaniel
Staff Writer

LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. — Leah Rudder is a self-described child at heart, so serving as the Children’s Service Manager at the Laurel County Public Library is a perfect fit for her.  On a normal day at work, she might find herself reading to a group of excited kids, covered up to her elbows in slime or even, on one occasion, acting as a magician’s assistant and getting a sword through her neck. 

Regardless of what each day brings her, Rudder views each day as a opportunity to inspire imagination in the minds of the children who visit.

Rudder, 31, grew up in Laurel County.  A 2000 graduate of North Laurel High School, she has deep roots in this community.

“I always went to the library when I was growing up,” Rudder said. 

She liked the library so much she worked there while she attended Union College, where she was pursuing a degree in elementary education.  Eventually, she changed her major to English/communication just so that she could continue working there after graduation.

To Rudder, working at the library gives her the best of both worlds; she gets to work with kids and she gets to work with books.  Both are things she greatly enjoys.

“I always loved to read when I was younger,” she said.  “I remember I would get the newest ‘Babysitters Club’ book and would read it in one day.”

Although her reading preferences have moved on to historical fiction from authors like Sandra Dallas, Rudder said she makes time to read nearly every day.  She estimates she reads around a book per week.

Rudder is responsible for bringing events to the library that kids might not get to see otherwise.  She has brought marionette shows, magic shows, science shows and so many other features to help inspire kids.

But she doesn’t let anything take away from her family time.

“Spending time with my family is very important to me,” Rudder said.  “I like my home time; it’s important to have.  I’m one of those people who doesn’t need to go out and do stuff to have a good time.”

Rudder and her husband, David, to whom she has been married for 10 years, have a daughter Mallory, who is 5.

“Mallory loves to read,” Rudder said.  “For Christmas, she had all these presents, she opened a box of books and she stopped what she was doing and went through every one of them.”

Regardless of whether she’s at home or work, it’s clear that literature is an important part of Rudder’s life which she passionately hopes to pass on to future generations.