Lara Keenan spent her first day as director of the Pierson Library in Shelburne climbing up and down stairs to the youth section, wandering around the stacks and checking the circulation desk. Pictured: 2013 Dr. Suess Marathon read-aloud session at Pierson Library. (Photo courtesy of Pierson Library)
Shelburne Lara Keenan spent her first day as director of the Pierson Library in Shelburne climbing up and down stairs to the youth section, wandering around the stacks and checking the circulation desk.
An Essex resident, Keenan, 37, earns $49,000 a year on the job and is excited about the position, which started last week. Her career is steeped in books and education and the position allows her to serve patrons who embrace this suburban library.
“My career has always been in books,” said Keenan, only hours after she started the position. “My first job involved working in a bookstore. I also worked as a high school English teacher, and I want to connect the people with the resources here.”
Prior to joining the Pierson Library, Keenan served as Assistant Librarian at the Essex Free Library. Her other credentials include a stint as a librarian and events coordinator at VSAC and also works with the Essex Community Players; lead foley (sound effects) artist for BTV Radio Players and is vice president of the Vermont Library Association Public Libraries section.
Tucked into Shelburne's Town Center, the library has 4,000 active patrons along with people who utilize the site via the Home Card System. That program allows most Chittenden County residents to borrow materials from other local libraries at no cost. The only organization to opt out of that is the Fletcher Free Library in Burlington.
Right now, Keenan is concentrating on speaking with as many people who visit the library, while getting to know her five-member staff and the 25 volunteers who drive the Pierson.
“I’'m impressed with the connections in the community,” she said. “It’s so impressive with the number of opportunities in town. I really want to connect with people and meet the needs of the community.”
Keenan described her first day on the job as acting like a sponge.
After a period of meeting staff and patrons, Keenan crossed the driveway to meet other employees in Shelburne's Town Center. With the explosion of social media and technology, Keenan recognizes libraries can play unique roles in their towns. Gone are the days when patrons solely borrow books. Now, the latest DVDs, books on tape, magazines and tomes are common materials requested from research desks. It’s that service and connection with people that Keenan feels forms the heart and soul of her efforts.