A new chapter begins
McClintic librarian Vicky Terry is no stranger to patrons of Pocahontas County Free Libraries.ﾠ As a matter of fact, Terry isn't a stranger to anyone for very long, and she was the logical choice to take over the director's chair when long-time director Allen Johnson announced his plans to resign his indoor position, to pursue his outdoor passion.
Johnson has served as director of PCFL for more than 10 years - a position he assumed on May 1, 2001.
Terry was a Librarian and Library Director in her home state of Michigan prior to moving to Pocahontas County.
"One day this woman brought a bag of books into the library," said Johnson.ﾠ "We get a lot of books, but not many like she donated."
"Wow," Johnson recalled saying at the time. "Come back here.
"She had something."
Johnson conferred with Gibbs Kinderman about the new bookworm in the area and together they encouraged Terry to becomeﾠ a VISTA volunteer.
"Before I knew it, I was on a plane to VISTA training in Atlanta, Georgia," laughed Terry. "I worked one year as a VISTA and then moved into a paid position.ﾠ It was in 2003.ﾠ That was when Green Bank [library] was built and I helped Jane [Mospan] weed out and set up."
But weeding out and setting up were just a part of Terry's contributions to the libraries, and to the young people of the county.ﾠ She helped with circulation and software, and as part of an after-school program, which included tutoring and an open gym, Terry made tracks to Pocahontas County High School "to keep the library open."
A noticeable love of reading is a driving force in this new director's commitment to get books in the hands of everyone, young and old.
"There is a common misconception that seniors want fluffy stuff," said Terry.
While in Michigan, she started a library in the local Senior Center.
"I started with light reading, Danielle Steel, books like that," she said.
But she was soon put straight by an elderly woman who told her, "this is all very nice but I want a book on gypsies in the Czech Republic."
Terry knows her books.
"Talking to Vicky, you get the impression that she has read every one," Johnson said.
She has read a lot, and listened to a lot as she makes her 45 minute drive from her home in Mace each day. A home she shares with husband Stephen Davis, who is an avid reader, as well.
In her tenure as librarian, Terry has seen a lot of changes and additions to library services and offerings. What are often referred to as "dead tree books" still have a place alongside audio and e-books.
"You don't have to choose one or the other," Terry said. "I have a Kindleﾮ, but I like books. I love my Kindle, I can change the Font size, and that's very important."
With electonic reading devices, such as Kindle and Nook, "big door-stop books can be downloaded into a comfortable volume size," and they are a great way for travelers to carry their libraries with them.
Johnson and Terry share a commitment to providing the best service possible to county residents.
"They're both great," said PCFL treasurer Beth Little. "He [Johnson] promoted programs and we won that award. He took us to a whole new level.ﾠ He made our libraries famous."
That award is the 2003 National Award for Library Service, "the highest honor the U. S. government gives libraries for extraordinary service to the public."ﾠ PCFL was one of just three recipients of the award that year, sharing in the spotlight with the Free Library of Philadelphia and the Bozeman Public Library in Bozeman, Montana, and bringing home $10,000 to boot.
"Vicky is very much a professional librarian," Little continued. "I see her bringing all our libraries to top form."
Johnson agreed with Little's assessment of Terry's talents, and added his own impressions, directing them to his co-worker.
"One thing I really admire about you, Vicky, is your passion," he said. "You have a great sense of humor. ﾠYou are efficient and a hard worker. I think the libraries are going to step up another level."
Terry responded with a message for Johnson as well as for all library patrons.
"We have the same goals - just different approaches," she said.
Terry came to PCFL armed with an undergraduate degree in Physical Anthropology and a Master's in Library Science from Wayne State in Detroit, Michigan.
"Vicky has many years of experience," Johnson said. "Mountain State recognizes her as one of the best librarians in the state."
That recognition vaulted her to state and regional committees.
Terry now serves as chair of the Cataloging Committee for Mountain Library Network, chair of the Public Library Division of the West Virginia Libraries Association and sits on the WVLA Executive Board.
She will once again find herself "setting up," but this time it will be for the annual WVLA Spring Conference to be held at Flatwoods in March. This conference is attended by librarians from all across the state.
While Terry puts her efforts into her new position as director and into that conference, Johnson will be using his undergraduate degree in Biology and Master's in Theology in his full-time work as an Environmental Advocate andﾠ as co-founder of Christians for the Mountains.
"I have loved this job," said Johnson. "We have a great staff, good patrons, no complaints and a lot of community support.
"There has been one problem, and that is money."
With a drop in Hotel/Motel Tax, the library has had to cut its budget in tandem. But lack of funding has not diminished Johnson's vision of the impact of libraries.
"I feel we are key in educating children and their families," he said.
The mantle passes to Terry on Monday, January 16, although Johnson will continue for a couple of weeks to file necessary forms for the changeover.
"I'm excited," Terry said. "It will be a nice challenge being a director of a county-wide library.ﾠ We have a good staff and that will make my job easier."
That staff consists of Pam Johnson and Paula Stemple at the McClintic Library; Nancy Eagen at the Dubrin Library; Jane Mospan and Mary Ann Alonso, at Green Bank; Elwood Groves, Ginger Must and Mary Beth Saleem-Tanner at Hillsboro; and Cree Lahti at the Linwood Library at Snowshoe.ﾠ Substitute Kathy Henry and Experience Works Pat Gatens are fully a part of the staff, as well.
Director Terry can be found in the "corner office" beginning Monday.