By Martie Thompson

Switzerland resident and Bartram Trail Branch Library reference assistant Donna Braasch said she’s a “local girl.” She’s a member of the Bowden family and grew up in Mandarin. Her parents first home was directly under what is now the Buckman Bridge on Scott Mill Road; the state took the land when she was six years old to build the bridge and the family moved to a home on a dirt road nearby. She said she recalls when JEA installed street lights on San Jose Boulevard (then known as State Road 13, as it still is in St. Johns County). A true bibliophile from an early age, Braasch said her mother used to take her to the Bookmobile outside Winn Dixie (now the site of Big Lots) when she went grocery shopping. She met her husband in high school, but they didn’t date until she worked after high school at Winn Dixie, first as a cashier and eventually as a general merchandise manager. She married Ron Braasch in 1983 and that’s when they moved to St. Johns County. They have three children and seven grandchildren.

Q: How long have you had a love for books?
A: I have always loved reading. In addition to visits to the Bookmobile, I remember my mother and I would ride the bus downtown to the Haydon Burns Library in Jacksonville. My parents couldn’t figure me out, since they weren’t really readers. The family joke was that I married the first man who would also sit in a room with me and read a book.

I.T. Promise Inc. Computer Services Professional Computer Services business and residential

Q: How did you come to work at the Bartram Trail Branch Library?

A: After Ron and I married, we started our family. For many years, I stayed home, chased babies, and volunteered at the library, schools, and my church. When our youngest child was in high school, I was bored and knew I needed something to do. So, I saw the library had a part-time position available and applied. Getting the job was not easy; I interviewed for three different positions before I was hired, as I was always up against applicants with degrees in library science. I was finally hired in 2007 as a circulation assistant and now I’m a reference assistant.

Q: What do you like best about working at the library?

A: I understand customer service and I’m always on the patron’s side. I feel if the library can be a soft place to fall, we should try to make it that way, especially during the last six months. I love getting to meet so many people who are new to the area. I enjoy the young families and the military families and I try to make them all feel welcome. I’m responsible for a lot of the programming and I work with the groups who meet there as a kind of liaison. I also do most of the adult crafts.

I also like that I can collect items for various non-profits at the library. At the Bartram Trail Branch Library, we collect non-perishable food for Hastings, end tabs for the Ronald McDonald House, Box Tops for Education, glasses for the Lion’s Club, fabric for Dress Girls Around the World, and yarn for our knitting and crocheting groups.

Q: What are some of the precautions the library has taken in the time of COVID?

A: We are limiting the time people spend in the building and ask that family groups stay together when browsing to lessen exposure. We have computers available with time limits. Grab and Go is available for people who don’t want to come into the building. We are washing hands frequently and wearing masks.

Q: What are your hobbies?

A: I like to spend time with my family. I like to be out in nature and spend time walking in our local parks and on the beach. I read a couple of books a week. I also like to travel and no matter where I go, I always visit the local library and buy a tote bag to support its Friends of the Library group. These Friends groups are so important as they work hard to raise funds for their library and we are so grateful.

Photo courtesy Donna Braasch

Donna Braasch

  • Smiles by Glenos & Hadfic Orthodontists
  • I.T. Promise Inc. Computer Services Professional Computer Services business and residential
  • Pavers concrete and more Free estimates
  • Snip's Tree and stump service over 25 years experience
  • The right cleaners, LLC House cleaning services
  • Premier Homes Realty Inc. Michael Taylor and Tari Taylor
  • Quality Eye care 25+ years of experience
  • Vote Rod Hardwick for st johns county sheriff Working together for the strength of our community during challenging times
  • Preddy law firm estate planning, wills, trusts, probate, guardianship
  • Starling Nocatee, 360 degree virtual tour
  • Advertise in our May Issue The Creek Line
  • Staverman Hearing Centers Hear loud and clear
  • Support Community Journalism The Creek Line
  • Tutoring club of st johns. Text tutoring to 484848 for a chance to win one month of free tutoring
  • Being Well Florida News line is excited to introduce Being Well magazine
  • Westminster Woods on Julington creek. Live well. Be Happy
  • Have questions about your medicare benefits? Call a SHINE volunteer.
  • Ellegant earth solutions complete lawn maintenance with 28 years experience, complete lawn maintenance
  • Prudential Financial Planning Services with Andrew Laino
  • Vote for Dr. Erick Aguilar Republican candidate U.S. House Fl 4th district
  • Academy of Dance Open House & Registration August 19th and 20th 3pm to 6pm Classes start August 24th! Ballet, Pointem Jazz, Hip Hop Contemporary, Modern, Lyrical, Music Theatre, Vocal
  • Affordable Water
  • All About Ballroom
  • Do you only want cremation?
  • Craig Funeral services, Funeral, Crematory, Memorial Park
  • Cronin Ace Hardware
  • Vote for Christian Whitehurst! for St. Johns county commissioner, District 1
  • Doug Nunnery, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices,
  • Finding the right doctor just got easier, Dr. Levine Baptist primary care
  • DIscount up to 30% Jim Register state farm agent
  • Nemetz Dental Associates! Your new smile awaits!
  • Deerwood Academy register now for 2020-2021 VPK
  • Eye center of st augustine, The eye surgery Center of St Augustine
  • Famous Automotive and tire center
  • Fruit Cove Baptist Church
  • The Goddard School summer camp
  • Havana Printing and office supply Call us today for all your cutome printing needs
  • Ian MacDonald Mortgage loan originator with Regions Mortgage
  • Julington Creek Chiropractic & Wellness Center P.A. serving st. johns county for nearly 21 years
  • Wild Birds Unlimited Nature shop. Have you watered your birds lately?
  • Creeks Air Conditioning & Heating. We service all makes and models for residential and commerical!
  • Crosswinds Veterinary Hospital. Preventative Medicine and wellness, Surgery, Dentistry, Labs and Imaging, Farm Animal Medicine, In-Patient and Emergency Care
  • Florida Waterways Inc. Your trusted Waterway Advisers
  • Julington Creek Family Dentistry. Implant Cosmetic and Restoration Dentistry. We are following Advanced Safety protocols set forth by CDC, OSHA and ADA guidelines for dental practices
  • Alicia Washington for Circuit Judge
  • Re-elect Mike Orfinger for circuit judge
  • Concrete Works! Free Estimates, driveways, Patios, Walkways, Concrete removal, Driveway extension, Pavers
  • Family Remodeling Contractors! Bath, Kitchen &ADA Remodeling
  • River Garden Senior Services, However and whenever you need us we're here
  • Starlight Gymnastics! Our #1 priority is your children!
  • Chris Strickland for ST Johns county sheriff!
  • Sugar Bear Antique Mall Summer spectacular sale July 10th-12th
  • Baptist Health, Great tools for motherhood
  • A Green Cleaner, Free pickup and delivery to your home!
  • HarborChase independent & assisted living Memory Care Mandarin. Your safety and peace of mind is always our Top Priority
  • Havana Printing 904-447-5021