Iris Swedlund, the librarian known for her love of kids, as well as her love of the color red.

“I have always liked red,” exclaimed Iris. “Red, red, red, red, red. That’s what I love. That’s me.”

Iris started her career as a teacher, advisor, and librarian at Velva Public School in 1969.

“Every day when I unlocked that door, I looked up and it said, ‘multi-purpose room.’ And I’m in a square room with brick, green carpet, all of the above. And so with that I always had needs,” Iris said.

In addition to her role as librarian, Iris started the Velva chapter of Future Business Leaders of America, of FBLA in 1970, the year after it was offered in North Dakota.
For the next forty-three years the Velva FBLA Chapter had over 2400 members, 31 state officers, and sent over 200 students to national competition.

“I loved to take our Velva students and put them up against Class A, especially in FBLA,” exclaimed Iris. “Let me bring my kids up and let them compete and show what they have and give them the opportunities to go to nationals and see the rest of the world.”

Over time, it became clear that Velva needed a new library, so Iris poured her heart into writing grants, and telling anybody who would listen, why Velva needed a new library.

And she succeeded.

“And with that, I just love it. I was the woman,” exclaimed Iris.

It was her students who influenced her to put in all the work.

“I’ve received a lot of time thoughts from students saying, ‘you made a difference in my life.’ I am thinking they maybe made the difference in my life,” Iris shared.

Iris had a reputation of finding the best in her students, and her son Searle and daughter Shayla can attest to that, stating everywhere they went, there was a line of people waiting to visit with Iris.

“When you grow up, you start to realize that that line of people, and those conversations are about impact,” Searle reflected. “And I think about the thousands of folks who have come up and told my mom over the years what a huge impact they’ve made in their life.”

Jen Kramer was one of Mrs. Swedlund’s students.

The lessons she learned from Mrs. Swedlund led Jen to follow in her footsteps, taking over as library director.

“I was a little nervous when I got the job,” Kramer admitted. “And I’m like, ‘I can’t take over for Mrs. Swedlund. Nobody can fill that!'”

And today, Iris Swedlund’s influence, legacy and name carries on with the renaming of the library to “The Iris Swedlund School and Public Library.”

Iris Swedlund, who loves red, and loves her students and community even more, is Someone You Should Know.