WEST MILTON — After 25 years with the Milton-Union Public Library, it’s time for Carol Netzley Coate to turn the page on a new chapter in life.
This summer, Coate will be retiring from the hometown library she grew up patronizing before becoming the director.
Coate said she visited the library for years, but first started working there in 1992.
“I started part-time, as a mom coming back from raising my kids,” she explained. Eventually she earned her master of library science from Kent State online.
Coate said she loves providing people with the information or assistance that they need, whether someone has questions about their health or need help printing legal documents, or a college student needs help with a research — but she has especially enjoyed getting to know and befriend library patrons over the years.
“Getting to know people as friends, being able to call them and say ‘Hey, I put a book on hold for you because I know you’d like it,’ and them being excited too,” she said. “It is a community of fellow readers.”
Coate said she’s seen a lot of changes in how patrons use libraries over the years, but added that “this is a great time to be part of a public library.”
Libraries level the playing field, Coate said, pointing out that not everyone has Internet access at home. In addition to borrowing books, people often come in and take advantage of the free Wi-Fi and computers. They also have access to the library’s collection of movies and music.
“I think we really do fill a need and are appreciated by our wonderful patrons,” she said.
While people don’t seem to use the library as much for reference these days, the library has become something of a community center, Coate said.
“There’s been an increase in the library as almost like a community center,” Coate said.
The Milton-Union Public Library schedules a wide variety of activities, from craft nights and clubs for teens, to video game tournaments, movies nights and classes.
“I’ve been blessed with a really creative staff,” Coate said.
While Coate has enjoyed spending the last two decades working at the library, she said she’s ready to retire and spend more time with her family.
“I’m going to miss the people and the work,” she said. “But it’s time for the library to get some fresh blood.”
But just because she’s retiring doesn’t mean she won’t still be found at the library, she said, adding that she still plans on volunteering.
“I’ve had so many people come in and say, ‘Please don’t go!’” she said. “This has always been my library, since before I could read.”
Seeking a new director
With Coate retiring this summer, the library is seeking applicants for the library director position.
This school-district library serves a population of approximately 10,000 and provides a wide variety of materials, Internet access, activities for adults and children, and a patron-friendly place where community members feel welcome.
The new director will be responsible for planning and coordinating all library activities, as well as planning and implementing budgets and engaging in community outreach. The new director should be well versed in current library technology while looking to enhance the offerings of the library in this new world of electronics.
Candidates should have three to five years of professional library experience with some supervisory or managerial experience desired. Candidates should hold a bachelor or arts or bachelor of science degree and an master of library science degree or be currently working on one.
Interested applicants may submit a cover letter, current resume and three professional references. Documents should be mailed to: Milton-Union Public Library, 560 S. Main St., West Milton, OH 45383; Attn: Board President.
April 15 is the deadline for accepting applications.
For more information, call (937) 698-5515 or visit www.mupubliclibrary.org.
Milton-Union Public Library is located at 560 S. Main St., West Milton and is open Monday through Thursday 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Friday and Saturday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Reach Cecilia Fox at email@example.com.