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Library Director Gives Thanks

Submitted Photo
Submitted Photo

The Thanksgiving Holiday is almost here. There are so many things we have to be thankful for in Van Alstyne; not the least of which is a public library that has been in continuous operation for more than 40 years. There are not a lot of rural communities that can say that. I am thankful to be a part of the great team that serves the citizens of Van Alstyne through this library. Let me tell you a bit more about this team.

I’ve mentioned Judy Kimzey a few times in this article in connection with Teen Council. Judy has been with our library for 10-plus years. She leads the meetings with Teen Council (TC) every Wednesday as they shelve the children’s books that were recently returned by patrons, plan ways to represent our library in such events as Fall-der-All and the Christmas parade and design fun and educational events for the teenaged citizens of the local area. The photo accompanying this article is two of our TC members getting ready for last Friday’s Catching Fire Movie Release Party.

Judy and TC go to the Grayson Crisis Center once a month to share books and crafts with the children there. Judy also selects all the books for our Young Adult collection and catalogs those materials in our system. In addition she’s in charge of choosing the science-fiction/fantasy books for our collection as well as cataloging them on arrival, and processes all the interlibrary loan materials. When I have to be away from the office Judy is the go-to person.

Aaron Emdy is materials processing extraordinaire. She is the one who covers the books, prints and properly affixes the barcodes, labels, and date due slips to all materials, and makes an effort to repair damaged materials so they can have a longer life. If you get a telephone call about an overdue item, that’s Aaron’s friendly voice you’ll hear on our end of the line. She also keeps the newspapers organized, and has an artistic flair she’ll put to some of our children’s crafts. She does all this in only 12 hours per week.

Karen Oliver, our Children’s Library Specialist, is a mother of six which makes her uniquely qualified to handle our children’s programming and book choices. She prepares and carries out educational, fun programs for preschoolers and elementary aged children weekly. The Tween Book Club, which just began is Karen’s project, too. She creates a themed bulletin board several times a year, purchases all books for our patrons age 12-and-under, catalogs the children’s books, reviews children’s book donations, and creates prototypes of all those fun crafts the kids get to make. Karen accomplishes a lot in the 18 hours per week she’s with us.

Lahiri LeFrancois keeps all of our technology working and our computers virus-free as well as the software up to date. When he began work here as a volunteer about three years ago, he found the computers were infected with a variety of malware, spyware and trojans. After getting them cleaned up he spent the next two years patching them back together as various parts wore out. With the donation of the new Hewlett Packard computers by JetPay, he finds it easier to keep them clean and running smoothly, though the occasional malware still finds its way in. Drive safely around Van Alstyne so you don’t run over Lahiri when you see him on his bright yellow bicycle.

In addition to these duties all team members work the public service desk, help shelve materials, read professional journals and book reviews, attend continuing education sessions, work on grant applications, and whatever else is needed to insure our patrons are well served. All we do is encompassed in our mission statement: The mission of the Van Alstyne Public Library is to enhance the development, growth, and well-being our community by providing an organized collection of books, reference materials, programs and other resources, in order to educate, entertain, and inform.

Hope to see you around the Van Alstyne Public Library.