CARTHAGE — After 14 years as Carthage Free Library director, Linda McCullough has decided to start a new chapter in her life.
Having spent 18 years as an environmental educator at Minna Anthony Common Nature Center on Wellesley Island, Mrs. McCullough decided to try something new and took the job at the public library.
The library director said a lot has changed during the past 14 year in the way libraries operate and how the local library has adapted to meet these changes.
“The use of technology has increased, and we have changed the way we do things,” Mrs. McCullough said.
In the past decade, the library, as have others, have gone digital. Gone is the card catalog; now book listings are computerized. Since the Carthage library is affiliated with the North Country Library System, books and other materials may be borrowed from other libraries if not available locally. In addition, a patron’s library card can be used at any other library in the system.
The demand for more technology was one of the factors that led to the 3,400-square-foot expansion of the library that concluded in 2012. The $1.1 million project nearly doubled the library’s space and provided room for a separate computer lab as well as space to hold meetings and classes.
Mrs. McCullough said the added space allowed the staff to better assist patrons with accessing the internet and computer use in general. The library has weekly basic computer skills classes and computer classes for seniors. In addition, one-on-one appointments are available.
The expansion also allowed for an increase in programs for the general public, including gardening and cooking and activities specifically for children, teens and senior citizens.
The retired library director plans to travel and spend more time with her grandchildren. Mrs. McCullough and her husband Russ, who retired a year ago as a fishery biologist for the state Department of Environmental Conservation, are about to embark on a trip to the Galapagos Islands.
“We’ll see what opportunities come up,” she said of other retirement plans.
Mrs. McCullough also plans to remain active with The Friends of the Carthage Free Library.
“I can’t leave completely,” she said. “I have emotional ties to Carthage Free Library.”
The library staff and board said she will be missed.
“Linda is one of the very hard working and honest people I have come across working for different nonprofits,” said Nusrat Hafeez, library board president. “I have never seen a person who is like Linda. She never asked for overtime, was so nice to coworkers and was always ready to do everything for the library without being asked, which is very rare. Now as she is going we will really miss her.”
During her retirement party many members of the library staff expressed that she was a wonderful boss and a good friend.
The board has initiated a search for a new library director. Meanwhile Tina Bamberg has been appointed interim director.
Whoever takes over, Mrs. McCullough wants them to know they “have good people to work with.” She urges her successor to “take advantage of the talent at the library,” to “have good relations with the patrons,” “be open to new ideas” and remember, “the patrons are why we are here — provide the needs of the patrons.”