Director’s Corner

I Feel a Change Comin’ On

The Open Book

Robyn E. Vittek


“All great changes are preceded by chaos.” -Deepak Chopra

The above quote rings pretty true for me these days. There are big changes afoot at the library and big changes in my personal life. Change can be a good thing, but when you’re knee deep in the chaos that precedes it, it can feel pretty rough.

The Children’s Department is pretty chaotic these days, but for very good reasons. Our new Children’s Services Supervisor, Pam Robinson, started her position in the middle of Summer Reading Club, and had to hit the ground running. We decided to take this fall off from story time, to give Pam and her staff time for her to settle into the position, and also to make some long-needed improvements to the department.

We are still offering some great children’s programming, even though story times won’t return until after the holidays. Every month, we host movies on the big screen with popcorn and hold Lego Build It! Workshops. The Children’s Department is gearing up for two big family programs; “Go Batty for Books” to celebrate fall and Halloween on October 24th, and a Holiday Magic program at the St. Clairsville Rec Center featuring Gordon the Magician on December 15th. Just last week, we were able to add an exciting feature to the line-up; Little Tykes Yoga for toddlers. We’ll have 5 sessions on Monday mornings in October, November, and December. If you want more information or to register, give us a call!

As far as the collection goes, we are moving some things around to make the department more kid-friendly and easier to navigate. Our reorganization will also make room for new books and materials, for story time programs to be held right in the Children’s Department, and make it easier for us to try new things. For example, we are testing an exciting new product that kids really love. Playaway Launchpads are computer tablets that you can check out and take home to use! You can’t use them for the internet, but they are pre-loaded with fun games that teach skills in art, engineering, math, and much more. We also have a great play area for families to relax and enjoy fun toys, computers, and our AWE Early Literacy Station.

This reorganization has been tough not only on our patrons, who have missed having story time, but on the staff as well. However, the finish line is in sight, and we know that the Children’s Department will emerge better than ever before, offering every child in our service area a fun, inviting place to explore, create and learn. An added bonus is that our Friends of the Library Book Sale, October 15-17, will have a great assortment of children’s books added to the merchandise, so be sure to stop by and stock up.

The other big change happening at the library has to do with me; October 15th will be my last day serving as Director of the St. Clairsville Public Library. Consequently, this is the last column I will write for the Times-Leader. I have accepted a position at a library in Pittsburgh, and while I am excited at the new opportunity, I’m having a really hard time with the fact that once again I’ll be leaving the Ohio Valley.

After many years away, coming back home has been a surreal experience for me; strange and familiar at the same time. The steel mills that were once the backbone of our Valley have faded, to be replaced by the burgeoning gas and oil boom. Many of my family members, including my mother and siblings, have moved to other areas or even out of the state. I literally can’t go home again; a coal company bought the house I grew up in. However, DiCarlo’s pizza is still just as awesome as ever, my grandma and Aunt Becky still make amazing Sunday dinners, and the St. Clairsville Public Library building is still as beautiful as when I first walked in as a teenager many years ago.

I have made many new friends and reconnected with old ones, gave back to the community through participation in the Rotary of St. Clairsville and St. Clair Ruritan, modeled in the Chamber of Commerce style show, and visited the State Capitol building to meet with our representatives. I’ve learned a lot and laughed a lot. I worked closely with the amazing staff at the library to improve our materials, programs, and services, and I feel as though we have accomplished wonderful things for the people of St. Clairsville over the past two years.

Our Board of Trustees has very wisely appointed Emily Kessler, the library’s Public Services Supervisor, to serve as Interim Director until my position is filled. Emily will continue the great work we are already doing, and see the library through the chaos of this next big change. Programs and services will continue as always, and as always the library looks forward to seeing you walk through the doors to take advantage of all we have to offer.

The St. Clairsville Public Library is located at 108 W. Main Street. The library is open Monday- Wednesday 10-8, Thursday-Friday 10-6 and Saturday 10-2. The library can be reached at 740-695-2062 or