Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Farewell Sarah ... We Will Miss You!

Sadly I must announce that our Sarah will be moving on.  The next stage in Sarah’s career takes her to New York City, where she will work for the Washington Heights branch of the city’s public library as a Young Adult Librarian.  I know she will make a big impact on the lives of many inner-city teens.  We are happy for Sarah to land her dream job in her home state, but on the other hand so sorry to see her go!  

When I first met Sarah, three years ago, she was primarily working as a reference librarian in the adult service department. This position included the responsibility of serving as liaison to Wilkes Community College's satellite campus in Ashe County.  She also led a once-weekly Anime/Manga Club for teens.  As you may know, our library is one of the few places teens can go when not in school, yet the number of teens who actually used the library was low.  In efforts to increase the library's popularity with teens, Sarah began working with a youth service assistant to target the teen audience.  One strategy was to take the library to the teens, so they began making Jr. High and High School visits to promote teen programming and library services.  A flat screen TV was installed in the teen area to offer gaming.  Teen shelving was rearranged to allow more space to 'hang-out.'  Funding from a YALSA Teen Read Week Grant allowed the library to purchase Kindles (loaded with nominated Top Ten Teen eBooks) for teen circulation.  Sarah designed a LibGuide for Teen Tech Week and through the summer months, offered special programming that included a Murder Mystery Play and an End-of-Summer Party.  In fact a maker mobile-cart (sewing machine) and movie editing equipment were just added with a Teen Tech Week Grant and will be implemented in a variety of ways.  Sarah has led the teens in Karaoke Contests, organized the library’s first Comic-Con, and hosted several after-hours (late-night) teen events in the library.  All of these changes have added to a significant increase in library usage by teens.  But it is certainly Sarah's support and creative imagination that played a big part in drawing the teens in.  She is a listening ear, a friend, and enjoys books/graphic novels of teen interest.  

Along with Sarah’s service to area teens, she took the lead librarian’s position in managing our adult service department last year.  Her outreach style made our library’s festival tent a fun place for staff to interact with the public using photo booth props, and awesome games, including a library crystal ball!   Our library’s most recent Community Read was a HUGE success, because of course we had Sarah planning and organizing a series of events to celebrate reading together. 

Since we only have a few weeks left with Sarah before she leaves for the Big Apple, we are planning a Farewell Reception this Saturday at 2:00 p.m. in the library’s downstairs meeting room.   All are invited to join our celebration for Sarah, and to wish her well!  Come in costume if you like ;) 

~ Suzanne Moore, County Librarian

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