|In the midst of a typically active day in the West Custer County Library this week, outgoing librarian Amy Moulton took a few moments to reflect on her five years in the position. Children were sprawled on the floor playing board games; the kids’ and adult computer stations were occupied with patrons; the easy chairs were filled with readers; the tables hosted a few adults studiously working on their laptops and a teenager focused on a writing project; murmured conversations and quiet laughter drifted into the library proper from people signing out materials and making inquiries at the main desk; a volunteer was shelving books from a cart chock full of returned volumes; card games were underway in the attached Community Room.
When Moulton spoke lovingly of having worked with the team—staff, Board, Friends of the Library—to bring about “the ‘feel’ of the Library, a warm and welcoming family place, a community hub where people can find what they’re looking for, or get connected to where they can locate it,” the place itself just simply hummed along with what she was celebrating about her service there.
When recalling what she was most proud of during her tenure, Moulton consistently made reference to “we,” and rarely spoke in first person singular. “We have worked together to bring the Library up to date with technology and greatly expanding the amount of materials people can easily access, growing from about 12,000 items available through a labor intensive borrowing system to 1.4 million items available through our catalogue viewing.” She continued to tick off how not only books, e-books, audio books and video films had increased in volume over these years, but how children’s programming and adult services and workshops had expanded as well.
“We have loved seeing circulation increase each year,” she commented; “we’ve been responsive to the community, and the community seems happy with what we’re doing.” Moulton was also quick to note how indebted she was to her predecessor, Marty Frick. “She created a strong, transparent foundation that allowed us to do this,” Moulton said, and went on to praise the community as well for its support, not just in the aforementioned use of Library services, but in actual volunteer and financial support, the latter evidenced in generous contributions through the Spirit Campaign, private donations, and successful grant proposals. When Moulton arrived on the scene in 2012, revenues had stagnated, but “we continued to grow when the economy could’ve crushed us,” she said. In 2016, the Library was the third highest recipient of funds generated from the community’s goodwill in the Spirit Campaign.
Moulton also commented, a tad tearfully, on “what a really tough choice” she had made in announcing her leaving the staff, “because the people I work with and the patrons are like a family to me.” And yet it is her actual family that beckons her for more relaxed and quality time. Daughter Hannah is soon off to college, and Moulton looks forward to visiting her in newly acquired leisurely fashion; son Colt will continue in Elementary School, and Moulton will now have more time for athletic practices, games, and school activities.
“I will be finding something in the community that I’m passionate about,” she added, “and that takes less time away from family.” In the meantime, Moulton is assisting with the search and hiring process for a new librarian, and that process is well underway. The Board hopes to name Moulton’s replacement by late August or early September, and she will thoroughly train the person before leaving later in September.
In the 87 year history of community library services in the Valley, Amy Moulton has capped an outstanding five years of growth, development, and increasingly modern, contemporary engagement with equally growing numbers of library users. Thank you, Amy; you have been a community treasure, and your legacy will live in the busy, bustling, happy place the Library grew into under your leadership.
– W.A. Ewing