The Friday Follow-up: New Director at Genesee Public Library

Friday Follow-up:
a message from Brian M. Hildreth, STLS Executive Director
New Director at Genesee Public Library
Raianne Smith started at the Genesee Public Library in Little Genesee (Allegany County) last week. She is five days on the job and already making her library visible to her community.
“Life is like walking. You take one step at a time.”

Most people know I have four daughters. And as a result, I am exposed to many musical genres. Some sounds I love and others not so much. Nevertheless, Taylor Swift is one artist who makes regular appearances over my household airwaves. Above are her words.


Her sentiment seems simple and obvious. But I have noticed adults, myself included, don’t always adhere to such a clear message. We tend to complicate things as we get older until we realize life doesn’t have to be so complicated.


This week I met a freshman library director. I love this part of my job. As system director, I am usually the first at STLS to meet with a new library CEO. It is an opportunity to start a relationship and offer support to an individual who is embarking on an eventful journey.


These initial visits are refreshing. Typically I meet with the director on their first or second week. I start the conversation by telling my story as a librarian and share insights about my interests. I then listen to the director tell their story and what they find exciting. We then talk about the journey that is rural library directorship.


This meeting is not formal. It is about two people getting to know each other. I might insert some of my own experiences as a new director. But for the most part we keep it simple. I do provide a copy of the Handbook for New Library Directors in New York State as well as the Handbook for Library Trustees. Both documents are essential reading for any director or trustee.


The other great thing about these visits is seeing the director’s passion. They give you a tour of the library, show you changes they have made and ask lots of questions. Sometimes they show me something that has been in the library for decades and ask, “What is this stuff and what do I do with it? I love seeing stacks of brochures for a program that ended in the 1980’s.


I enjoyed my time with Raianne Smith (goes by Rai) this past Wednesday. She is the new director at Genesee Public Library in Little Genesee (Allegany County). We spent two hours together discussing a path her library and community. In just 5 short days she built her library’s website, started a Facebook page, reorganized sections of her collection and made a commitment to breath life into her library. I was optimistically exhausted listening to her.


My only response, “Rai, I am so excited you are here. Baby steps.” Can’t wait to see all the great things that happen in Little Genesee. What a great start for Raianne and her trustees.

Have a great weekend, STLS!

Kindest Regards,

Brian Hildreth, Executive Director
Southern Tier Library System

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