Barton Profile: Connie Kerns


Connie Kerns
(Story and Photo by Joe Vinduska)

Connie Kerns
Bookstore Manager

Great Bend, Kansas

How long have you worked at Barton Community College?
22 years.

Where were you employed before coming to work at Barton?
I was office manager at a car dealership.

Why did you choose to work at Barton?
The dealership was sold, so it forced me to change, but I’m glad I did because I like it out here, so it was a good change.

Take us through a typical day as manager of the bookstore.
We have different cycles in terms of book orders, and we have book buybacks to do and inventory as well as waiting on customers.

What’s your favorite part about your job?
The people and the students. Without the students none of us would be here. Also, I get to see the beautiful sunrises in the morning and sunsets on the way home.

What is the most challenging part?
Ordering the books is a challenge. The various secretaries on campus help me out so much. I have deadlines, and they help me meet those deadlines.

Who designs the window displays for the bookstore?
Sue Ann and I both do, but I kind of let her do it most of the time. Sometimes I’ll add an idea, and we just kind of work it out together. The theatre department also helps with them. They like to do the Halloween one because they have a coffin!

The Union and the bookstore are getting a pretty extensive facelift. Describe your thoughts and feelings about this.
I’m excited about it. It just makes the whole place seem warmer, the tile looks so nice and the colors and carpet are awesome. We have also done some rearranging to maybe enlarge the food court area in the front of the bookstore with some more seating, but we’re not sure yet.

Sometimes I’ll walk to the bookstore for an energy drink and beef jerky. They always provide a nice boost. So thanks for stocking energy drinks and beef jerky.
You’re welcome!

When I walk over for a treat, a lot of times I’ll smell yummy smells from the cafeteria. How do you deal with good food smells all day without getting hungry?
It’s not easy. Especially when they’re baking rolls or pizza. It’s like when you walk into Wal-Mart and smell the bread baking in Subway.  

What is one of the more popular items this year?
Believe it or not, it’s milk. We are selling a lot of milk. The kids are really going for it.

How do you spend time outside of work?
Right now I’m taking a ceramics class. We bought a camper last year, I like to garden and spend time with my grandkids. I also like photography.

St. Patrick’s Day is almost upon us. Are you Irish? I Googled your last name, and it said Kerns is of Irish descent, but I don’t know your maiden name.
No. My maiden name was Bell so I’m of mainly German and Scottish descent, but I am married to an Irish man, and I love St. Patrick’s Day. We’re going to be out of town for St. Patrick’s Day so we’ve already had our corned beef and cabbage.

What are your thoughts on the pinching tradition?
I participate, but I don’t really have an opinion about it. Today it’s probably not as accepted. You’ll probably get sued!

Where would green rank in your list of favorite colors?
I love green!

Who is going to win the NCAA tournament?
I’m kind of pulling for Wichita State University because they haven’t been in the tournament for a long time. Any Kansas school is good in my eyes, but I’m secretly pulling for WSU.

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