GREENVILLE — Susi Halley has taken over as director of the Greenville Public Library following the retirement of longtime director John Vehre.
Halley holds a degree in management from Bluffton University in northwestern Ohio. She worked in long-term care for many years, including serving as director of Oakley House in Greenville for three years. She also worked in marketing at the Brethren Retirement Home in Greenville.
Halley joined the library staff in 2003 and helped spearhead the fundraising campaign that paid for various improvements and expansions to the library building that were completed in 2007.
“I was looking for something different,” Halley said. “I had been in long-term care for quite some while. I saw a help wanted ad, and of course everybody loves the library! It just seemed like a great opportunity.”
Halley was promoted to assistant director of the library in 2005 and took over as director at the beginning of this year. Her plans as director involve analyzing current trends to determine where the library’s funds would be best spent.
“Which of our services are people using?” Halley said. “What do they want? What they wanted two years ago is not necessarily what they want now. We don’t want to spend money on things that aren’t getting any use.”
One plan Halley is considering would involve phasing out some of the library’s desktop computers, which are available for public use in favor of more comfortable seating areas where patrons can use wifi to browse the internet with handheld devices, such as tablets and cell phones. She also wants to reconsider some of the databases to which the library subscribes, many of which are quite expensive while being rarely used.
“We pay a lot of money for some of these databases, and if only one person is using it — $3,000 a year for one person is not a good use of our money,” Halley said.
A new circulation desk is also being considered, according to Halley, as the library’s current front desk may be too high for younger children, as well as some adult patrons with disabilities, to utilize comfortably. She also wants to expand the library’s film, television, music and video game offerings, as well as offering more mobile wifi hotspots for patrons to check out.
Halley emphasized that the library’s robust selection of teen, adult and children’s programming will continue to be a main feature, however.
“We have a great staff of very creative, very talented people,” Halley said. “So we try to have something for everybody.”
Ultimately, according to Halley, everything the library staff does is about finding ways to serve its patrons better.
“We want to make sure the library is up to date with everything the patrons want,” Halley said. “And we also want to preserve the historic beauty of the library because we feel we’ve been entrusted with a community treasure.”
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