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Director's Column

PLSJC Director Alan Hall writes a weekly column discussing library and community news, history, and other interesting subjects.

My Library Mentors

By Alan Hall, Director, PLSJ
Publish Date - Wednesday, January 9, 2019


Over my 35 years here at the library, I have been blessed to work with 4 different Assistant Directors that have contributed to the overall operations of the library system.


Upon my arrival in 1983, both administrative positions were open, and Barbara Topp joined me the next year and served for 6 years as the funding for Ohio’s libraries changed.


She also served on the original Historic Fort Steuben board, and left in 1990 to manage a regional library system in Indiana before retiring to California.


Bill Martino also served as Assistant Director of the library system, and went on to serve 3 different libraries before recently being named Director of the Clark County District Library in Springfield.


Mike Gray was hired in 2002 to serve our library system, and of course, he became the Director of the Public Library of Steubenville and Jefferson County last September to allow the transition as I fade into the sunset of my career with the completion of the Main Library ADA Project.


I am sad to report that the Assistant Director from 1991-2000, Yvonne O. Myers, died Dec. 16 in Columbus following a year-long battle with ALS.


She served the library system during the time that 5 of our branch libraries were renovated or replaced, and assisted with that process.


In 2000, she departed our system to become Director of the Martins Ferry Public Library, retiring in 2015 to relocate to Columbus.


She had lots of travel plans for her retirement, but fate would take a different turn spending much of that time in a medical facility.


I visited Yvonne several times while she lived in the medical facility, and we spent a lot of time talking about our library careers and rehashed many stories of her days working in public libraries and her time with OSU before that.


My son was a young boy when Yvonne worked at our library, and he loved to go to her office to read with her; and he knew where she kept the candy.


Yvonne and I shared rides to library meetings even when she was at Martins Ferry, and solved all the problems of the library world during those many car trips.


She shared with me that getting the job at our library system was a dream-come-true, and she loved every minute of her time here, from the staff to all the people she met in our area.


Yvonne attended our son’s graduation party for high school, and attended his wedding, and by mere circumstance he lived close to that medical facility in Columbus and had breakfast with her on his days off from work.


I will remember that Yvonne was just like me --- we had both attained computer skills after college and often shared tips on new things that we found.


And Yvonne insisted that Mac was not really a computer, it was just some silly thing that someone invented; although she did appear to change her mind in later years.


A good food dish to Yvonne always contained chocolate if possible.


All of this points to all the librarians that I have worked with over the past 45 years.


Some were librarians that I worked with at the circulation desk of the library, or in the government documents department, or as library cooperatives developing and sharing services around a region.


Others were librarians at distant libraries on various committees, or librarians within our own system.


Many were mentors to me in the early days, some before I had attended library school who knew my interest and provided me with opportunities to learn about libraries.


Which leads me to the first day of Library Science 520, Management of Libraries; when the professor asked each one of us what we would do if we saw a banana peel on the floor of the library where we were working.


I said that I would pick it up and dispose of it so no one would fall, everyone else said they would have called the maintenance department to “clean it up.”


I guess that is where the advice of those people I had worked with came in handy.