The librarian is checking out

Thank you for the privilege and pleasure of being YOUR library director for eight years. I have enjoyed my time at the Mifflin County Library and knowing all you wonderful folks who understand the value and worth of public libraries.

It has always been important to me to feel as though I am, on a daily basis, making some small, lasting and valuable contribution for the greater good. There is, in my opinion, no better place to do this than Libraryland.

In 42 years, I’ve never had a JOB. Each and every day was a wonderful opportunity to make a positive impact in someone’s life. Perhaps it was a young child who looked at a book in wonder and said, “Read it again.” I cherished the smiles on reader’s faces when I helped them find a new author to enjoy. Students who came to the library for help with research papers and the topics they chose aided my personal education too.

Even something as mundane as sending a fax meant that someone would get paid, or important information was shared.

One of the most difficult decisions any librarian faces during their career is whether to move from a direct service position into an administrative role. It really isn’t about the money, being higher on the food chain, a more accommodating schedule, or more flexibility. It is about less public service, fewer interactions with customers and a larger picture mindset.

It is ALL about guiding, shaping, implementing and evaluating the best library service for the community. Frankly, being a library director can sometimes be a lonely, seemingly thankless job, especially when criticism is personal.

Doing what you love and are passionate about for a lifetime is rare and fortunate. So what happens when you wake up one day and suddenly realize that the fervent flame in your professional soul has become a dying ember? What doused that fire? More importantly, what are you going to do about it?

For me, the answer is simple. When the director of the library can’t commit 100% to providing the best library service with the resources available they should resign, retire or seek other opportunities.

So, I have resigned effective Sept. 11, 2020. However, I will continue to work a few hours a week until the end of the year to complete some ongoing projects.

The Library Board of Directors are responsible for hiring a new Library Director. This dedicated group has already begun to formulate strategies as to how they will proceed. I won’t be part of the hiring process but will act in an advisory capacity at their request. So, you will still see me mucking about for a little while.

I very much appreciate all the support you have given during my tenure. I will miss each of you! I’ll be joining you on the other side of the desk and becoming one of those customers who asks about that new book with the red cover or identifying a title incorrectly. Oh, this could be fun!

Remember: Old librarians never retire — they just check out, become overdue and lose their circulation.


Dr. Molly S. Kinney is the director at the Mifflin County Library. She is currently reading The Brides of the Big Valley by Wanda E. Brunstetter, Jean Brunstetter and Richelle Brunstetter. It’s fun to read about the familiar places in these stories.


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