Abigail Simpson is a product of Southeast Colorado Springs. The 39-year-old grew up in the Hillside neighborhood and today is branch manager of the Pikes Peak Library District’s Sand Creek and Fountain libraries. She says she’s able to contribute as a professional to the community that raised her, and that is very special.

Simpson, who has a bachelor’s degree in electrical science from Colorado Technical University, has worked with PPLD for 13 years. Her first job after college was as a software tester. However, she quickly (and quietly) discovered her passion for libraries.

In 2017, Simpson led a $600,000 renovation at the Sand Creek Library, which included the addition of a recording studio, transforming it into a community hub for arts and music.

The project made a lot of sense, as music is a big part of the culture in the Southeast, Simpson said.

“I feel like the Southeast has it’s own soundtrack,” she said. “There’s always music playing, either out of cars or earbuds or someone singing. It’s really uplifting — and it’s only going get better.”

Simpson said she’s seen lots of opportunity for young professionals in the city, and especially on the Southeast side.

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“There’s momentum here to celebrate what’s great about the Southeast side,” she said, “the diversity, the culture and music.”

Lynne Proctor, who Simpson calls “Mama Bear,” nominated Simpson for the Rising Stars recognition.

“Abby creates synergy in the community wherever she goes by linking businesses, agencies and governments toward … her common purpose of creating improved service in her community,” Proctor said. “… Abby is a role model for her staff who are also heavily engaged with outreach activities in the community and schools.”

With Simpson at the helm, for instance, the Sand Creek Library hosts everything from business data mining classes to Thrive Colorado Springs entrepreneurial workshops. For the last three years the Sand Creek Library has also hosted a caseworker from the Department of Homeland Security three days per week to answer questions about medical care and food assistance.

“Abby leverages the power of relationship-building throughout the community to remove barriers in her economically disadvantaged area,” Proctor said. “She always seeks to reaffirm the importance of listening to those she serves and works as a connector to many collations in [Southeast] Colorado Springs.”

Simpson said the recognition is even more meaningful because it came form someone within PPLD.

“I’m not a business person, but being recognized by the Business Journal shows I’m doing my job and that libraries are very valid in every aspect of everything we do,” Simpson said. “I want to be a star in the library world.”

— Bryan Grossman

What do you want to be when you grow up?

I feel like I’m making progress in being a leader in the community. I would like to contribute to my profession on a bigger scale.