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The new executive director of the Springfield-Greene County Library District began her duties Monday (1/5). KSMU’s Michele Skalicky talked with her and has this report.
One of the first things Regina Greer Cooper did after she began her new job today was to register for a library card. That’s just one thing that she can cross off her long to-do list. She says she has a lot of learning ahead of her.Cooper, who came from the Huntsville-Madison County Library District in Alabama where she was associate director for 28 years, hasn’t made any definite plans for the future of the Springfield-Greene County Library District. She says she hopes to find out what the public wants first.
"I am going to be open to ideas from the community, and I haven't made any decisions yet about specific things because I want to see what Springfield/Greene County wants, and I want to listen to them and think through some of these ideas. I've got some ideas in the back of my head, but they may not be what the area wants."
Cooper knew from a young age that she wanted to be a librarian—she says she and her sister played library when they were kids using books from their bookshelf. She graduated from Peabody College, now a part of Vanderbilt University, with a master’s degree in library science.She says the district in Alabama where she spent so many years of her career is similar in size to the Springfield-Greene County Library District.
"This library district is better funded than Huntsville is, so that is something I'm very much looking forward to. Some things that we couldn't do in Huntsville due to lack of funding have already been done here, and some other things we come up with I think we'll be able to do, because of the good financial support."
The economy is on everyone’s minds these days, and it’s no different for Cooper as she takes the helm of the Springfield-Greene County Libraries. She says now, more than ever, it’s important to provide library services to everyone.
"Because we've got everything with computers and books to read and programs and story hours that are really going to be important to everybody's daily life, so it's really important that we take care of the people who are suffering from the economy. We are going to have to watch our finances very carefully, and we hope the economy will not affect the money coming in so that we are able to still continue to have such a strong library."
Cooper says she’s impressed with the Springfield-Greene County Library District and what it’s doing—that’s why she applied for the job that opened up when Annie Busch, the District’s director for 19 years, retired. She says she plans to keep that momentum going.Cooper was chosen from four finalists for the job who were interviewed in a public, staff and board process held early in the fall.