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The Brainerd Minnesota Friends Board of Directors


Friends Of The Brainerd Public Library President:

Karen Johnson


Karen Johnson has called Brainerd home for over 40 years. She has two grown daughters who graduated from BHS and is blessed to have 5 grand daughters. Karen will be retiring soon from Essentia Health where she is involved with Crow Wing Energized. Prior to working at Essentia, she worked at Northern Orthopedics for 35 years. Joining the Friends of the Library seemed like a great fit since she loves reading in her spare time. An ideal day includes reading to her grand girls.


2nd 3 Year Term ends February 2027

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Friends Of The Brainerd Public Library Vice President:

Doreen Eiesland


Doreen retired as a regional program manager from the Department of Human Services after nearly 34 years. In the next phase of her life, she enjoys traveling, meeting new people, gardening, reading, spending time with family, volunteering, and learning something new every day.


3rd 3 Year Term ends February 2026



Friends Of The Brainerd Public Library Treasurer: Mary Susan Anderson


Mary Susan Anderson was born and raised in Fort Wayne, IN, and graduated from Ball State University. She spent 30 years as a CPA in Rochester, MN. In retirement, Mary Susan enjoys reading, biking, knitting, gardening, and kayaking on North Long Lake. She is pleased to be part of the Friends of the Brainerd Public Library as the treasurer.


1st 3 Year Term ends February 2025


Friends Of The Brainerd

Public Library Secretary:

Amanda Niemann


Amanda works in healthcare and has been in the Brainerd area for 9 years.  Originally from Foley, MN, she attended Concordia College in Moorhead for her undergraduate degree in Biology and Spanish and then received her master’s degree from the University of South Dakota.  When she is not reading or working, she enjoys mountain biking, camping, baking, any type of skiing, and hiking or snowshoeing with her 2 dogs.  She is trying to make it through the 39 “yet to be read” books on her shelf, but the number continues to increase, and she truly believes in “too many books, too little time”.


1st 3 Year Term ends February 2026


Friends Of The Brainerd Public Library Board Member:

Diane Runberg

Diane is a longtime Brainerd resident, graduating from Washington High School, (now Brainerd High School), and St Cloud State University.  After careers in banking and real estate appraising, she is enjoying retirement and the chance to volunteer at some of her favorite activities, including reading and art.  She paints and participates in local art shows, and art groups, and is currently co-president of Central Minnesota Watercolorists, secretary of the Brainerd Area Art Guild, and on the Board of Artists of Mn.  Sharing art with kindergartners at Garfield is a special joy.  The Brainerd Public Library has always been important to her. Husband Jim’s Aunt Helen Runberg was head librarian for years! Retirement has given me more time for travel and family, especially a new great grand baby.


1st 3 Year Term ends February 2025


Friends Of The Brainerd Public Library Board: Judy Rardin


Judy started as a volunteer with the Friends of the Library book sales, following her recent retirement, now serving as Book Sale Co-Chair.  As a

non-traditional college student, she graduated from the Minnesota University system with a B.S. degree while working full time and raising a family, Judy worked 42+ years for the State of MN Human Services Division.  Her favorite genres include mystery/suspense, pioneer, and WWII biographies. Family, travel, photography, home gardening, and landscaping are among her favorite activities.


2nd 3 Year Term ends February 2024


Friends Of The Brainerd Public Library Board Member:

Peg Mann


Peg grew up in Browerville, MN and graduated from The College of St. Benedict. After a career as an Analyst in the Healthcare Insurance Industry, she moved to Brainerd in 2019. She soon found her “people” through the Brainerd Library and its Wednesday Book Club. Peg enjoys volunteering weekly at The Friends of the Library Tuesday Book Sales. When she’s not reading you’ll find her quilting, baking, traveling, attending teas, and spending time with her three grandchildren.


1st 3 Year Term ends February 2027


Friends Of The Brainerd Public Library Board Member: Jenna Pettit


Jenna served as an AmeriCorps VISTA at the Brainerd Public Library after graduating from the College of Saint Benedict with a BA in Global Business Leadership and minors in Political Science and Writing. Currently, she works as the Marketing Specialist for Catholic Charities. In her free time, Jenna loves to spend time with friends and family, binge-watch The Great British Baking Show, and add books to her ‘To Be Read’ collection. 


1st 3 Year Term ends February 2026



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Friends Of The Brainerd Public Library Board Member:

Theresa Bourke


Theresa grew up in Wisconsin and has lived and worked as a journalist in the Brainerd Lakes area since 2016. She has degrees in journalism and Spanish from the University of St. Thomas and started out her working career at the PineandLakes Echo Journal in Pequot Lakes. She's been a reporter at the Brainerd Dispatch since 2018 and covers all sorts of topics, including city government, education and books. She spends as much of her free time as possible reading, playing trivia and nerding out about Harry Potter.


The Friends Of The Brainerd Public Library Board of Directors consists of 9 members, including the officers.  Vacancies on the board will be filled through appointment by the President Of The Board, subject to the approval by a majority of the Board Of Directors.

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