New regime invigorating
Since the regime change in January when Alice Cooper returned to the Northumberland Public Library as its interim director, it has become a hopping place.
That was evident Sunday afternoon when almost 100 people showed up for the first “Friends of the Library” reception in two years. The organization, which raises funds for the library and, as its president, Ellen Booker-Kirby said Sunday, is “the face of the library” in the community, had become moribund until the Library’s board lured Cooper back into the job in January.
The Board noticed Cooper’s effect on the library and its patrons and, 10 days ago, hired her as the full time director.
Following Cooper’s hiring and again Sunday, Library Board President Lien Groenwold said that there were three “superb” applicants for the job but Cooper’s electrifying effect on the library since assuming the director’s duties gave her a clear edge.
“In reality, the community picked her,” Groenwold said.
Not only have library activities picked up, but since Cooper, who had served in the position from 1996 until 2002, came back in January almost $4000 in fresh donations have flowed into the library. Those donations came after a fund drive late last year fell $17,000 short of the prior year’s pledges.
Cooper, who was born in Pittsfield, Mass. and who spent her school years in Erie, Pa., earned a bachelor’s degree in music at Kent State University and then a masters in music at the Northeastern Conservatory of Music. She got her masters of library science at the University of Pittsburg and was working at the Carnegie Library in Pittsburg, she said, when a light went on in her head and she decided to get her library degree.
Between a student assistanceship and other support, the degree “cost me $30. It was a good deal,” she said Monday. “But I worked my (posterior) off.”
Having left the library in 2002 to help with her husband’s farming venture, Cooper said she is delighted to be back.
“I always wanted to be the director of a small local library,” she said.
Jan Bates, a retired reading teacher, is now coming in three days a week and, in effect, serving as the library’s children’s librarian, Cooper said. The last actual incumbent in that position quit two days after Cooper took office in her interim capacity.
Before the Friends function Sunday, other activities indicated the energizing impact Cooper has had since her return.
Tuesday before last, a crowd filled the library’s conference room for “Books Alive!” at which Preston Nuttall talked about his books on the War Between the States. Then, two days later, The Cat in the Hat showed up to read “Green Eggs and Ham” to more than a dozen youngsters to celebrate Dr. Seuss’ birthday. The party was part of Bates’ “Listening Lambs” program and included birthday cake as well as the reading. That was all before Cooper was re-hired as the library’s permanent full-time director.