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By Carmen Ensinger
One might have noticed a different face behind the desk at the Winchester Public Library lately. After 27 years with the Winchester Public Library, Head Librarian Darlene Smith retired on July 31 and Jeanette Wallace was named as her successor.
Wallace, 33, from Alsey, brings a wealth of knowledge to the position. She is a 2006 graduate of Winchester High School and obtained an undergraduate degree in Communication from Blackburn College and then continued her education at the University of Illinois where she obtained her graduate degree in Library Information Science.
Wallace said there were several things that made her want to be the librarian at the Winchester Library.
“First of all, I love books,” she said. “Secondly, I love information and I love helping people and helping people find that information. Librarians do a lot more than just work with books. We help with reference services where if someone comes in and needs with just about anything we try to help – from how to put in a new faucet to can you help me to file for divorce – I can find them the resources they need for all of that.”
Wallace didn’t just jump into the position.
“I was already working here one day a week for a few hours helping out Darlene with the computers and technology when she decided to retire,” Wallace said. “Then, I worked here two weeks before she retired so I could learn the ins and outs of everything before she left.”
However, Wallace never has to worry about Smith being too far away if she needs any help.
“She lives right across the street from the library so she is always available if I need any help,” Wallace said. “She has been great about helping me out even though she is retired. She told me I could call her any time and I’ve found myself calling her a couple times since I took over and she’s been her in a moment’s notice.”
When asked if she has any new ideas she would like to bring to the library, Wallace said she would like to see more things for teenagers.
“What I would love to do is get more teens and young adults in here,” she said. “Right now, there are children’s programs and there are adult programs, but there is nothing for the teenagers or the older kids.”
One thing she would like to do is bring in more books, especially for the young adults.
“Once we have our new addition completed, we will have the room for more books and it is this age group that I would like to focus on,” she said. “Of course we are going to grow other collections, but this is one area that is really lacking.”
Wallace said she would also like to add more programs for adults, including some more educational programs.
“Right now, we have the book club and the adult coloring,” she said. “But I would also like to hold some computer type classes or maybe a class on how to find certain information or workshops for adults to learn new subjects.”
Wallace will be helped out in the library by two assistants – Reba Witwer and Barbara Prather. When she is not fulfilling her duties at the Library, she can be found on Friday and Saturday working at the Old School Museum.