I retired as a Lee Middle and High School Administrator in June 2006. In March 2007 I thought the advertised part time librarian position at the Otis Library & Museum would be something to keep me busy, only two or three days a week. From part time librarian to director fifteen years later, thousands of hours, and many articles, reports, programs and projects, I find it is time to go. I will retire as Director of the Otis Library on December 31, 2022. I will remain as an advisor/ consultant as needed to maintain State Certification and Compliance.
There have been many challenges during this time. The building itself was a challenge. Getting locked out one night with no jacket, keys, or phone and John Kennedy had to come and cut the door open. When the water pipe burst in the bathroom, and I was drenched as I called Chipper Crandall to turn it off. The pipe that burst upstairs and flooded the book sale room and the children’s area. The furnace breaking down several times and Ron Kearin always hoping he could fix it again. Finally, my building worries disappeared as the library building becomes town property! I am so Thankful!
The library organization was foreign to me. Human Anatomy and Physiology made much more sense than the Dewey decimal system. And cataloging was a true challenge. After a year of putting things in place I realized many books were not cataloged and the catalog itself needed attention. I was a scientist much more articulate at dissecting things than typing and cataloging. But the board allowed me to bring Lois Hall in to help type and she has stayed, and she will become the Interim Library Director when I leave. I learned how to use the Massachusetts Library System, first I had to become certified, then the Otis Library had to become Certified, and then the library could get some help and assistance. With the help of people at the Massachusetts Library System, and supportive trustees I started to push for CWMARS membership and automation. It took about three years. With great librarians, and supportive trustees, helping us along the way, great support from patrons who donated to help us, and finally town officials who gave the stipend and support the Otis Library & Museum has become a Massachusetts Certified Public Library and a member of CWMARS; Central and Western Massachusetts Automated Resource System. In the meantime we run summer reading programs, have our an annual country craft Fair, have authors such as Dennis Lehane, David McLaughlin, Nellie Gilder come to speak, and our famous community members such as Edwin Williams from Williams Stone Company, and Tom Ragusa from the Knox Trail Research Project to present Otis to the Berkshires.
This past year we accepted the challenge to compete for a Small Libraries Pilot Project for the construction of a new library which would be 75% funded by the Massachusetts Construction program. The year long preparation revealed so many things. We realized what we have, what we needed, and what we could do if we had more. It was a great experience. Although we did not get the grant we gleaned so much. To have a unanimous vote to approve applying for this grant we realized how much support we have, this was most gratifying. The townspeople and our patrons clearly indicated to the town officials the importance of the library as a resource to the community. Lastly it encourages us to continue to find ways to grow and to continue to serve the community. Most of all it proved to me that we have travelled in the right direction, and we need to continue to move forward. To continue to be the best little library in Berkshire County.
As I get ready to step down from this director position, I focus on providing the essentials. What has been most important to me is to provide the close personal touch that has been part of the services of Otis Library from the day I started fifteen years ago and meld it with the progress and advancements made to provide the best resources to allow people to move forward and reach their fullest potential in this ever-changing world. This is my wish.
Last, I thank everyone for the opportunity to be the Director of the Otis Library. It has been truly rewarding.