T.B. Scott Library leadership changes
TINA L. SCOTT
Stevens retires as Director
After 21 years of service for the City of Merrill, working to develop Merrill’s T.B. Scott Library as a community destination, as well as a place to check out books and do research, combining the Library’s rich history with modern technology and programming, Stacy Stevens, retired on June 1, 2021.
Stevens started working at the T.B. Scott Library in Jan. 2000 as Assistant Director and was appointed the 13th Director of the Library in Jan. 2009. “It has been an honor and a pleasure to serve the Merrill community over these years at our wonderful library,” Stevens said.
Zellers is appointed as new Director
In anticipation of Stevens’ retirement, Jessica Zellers was hired on April 19, 2021, to become the 14th Director of the T.B. Scott Library.
Zellers moved to Merrill from North Carolina. “I specifically wanted to move to Wisconsin because I love cold winters,” Zellers said. “No one ever believes me when I say that.”
“I’m thrilled to be here. T.B. Scott Free Library is a beautiful building, and I am impressed by the staff and their dedication to serving the community,” she said.
“I have to admit, it’s a little intimidating, trying to fill the shoes of director Stacy Stevens,” Zellers said. “Under her direction, the library installed solar panels, adopted more efficient technologies, increased the number of programs for the public, and expanded the library’s digital collections. I’m grateful to come into a library that’s already in such great shape.”
Zellers has a Master of Library Science from the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill. She has worked in a number of public libraries and one academic library and has also written books and articles about library service and helping people find books to read.
“That is my very favorite part of being a librarian,” Zellers said, “connecting readers with books.”
Looking to the present and the future, “This is such a challenging time,” Zellers said. “For a while during the summer, it looked like we were coming out of the pandemic, but the delta variant has changed all that.”
“My challenge is to provide exceptional library service while being mindful of public health. We want people to gather here for events and programs. We want people coming in to browse for books or to use our computers, or coming in for no reason at all. But we can only invite people within our walls if we’re respecting the health needs of the community. I’m following the guidance of the CDC, the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, and the Lincoln County Health Department,” she said.
“This building has a gorgeous view and free wifi, but I know sometimes people can’t make it in, or they feel nervous going out in public. We’re here for you, even if you never set foot in the door,” Zellers said.
“We’ve got curbside delivery for physical items, and we’ve got a great collection of e-books and downloadable audiobooks. You get to them using a free app called Libby. And you can always call or email us with reference questions or to get some reading suggestions.”
Zellers said the T.B. Scott Library has a “fantastic group of employees, and we are supported by a community of Library Board trustees, Friends of the Library, volunteers, and patrons.”
“No matter what comes next, we’ll work together to help people find answers to their questions, and offer programs for all ages, and grow our print and digital collections,” Zellers added.
Head Youth Services Librarian exits
Carolyn Forde, Youth Services Librarian at the T.B. Scott Library, is also leaving the library, effective Aug. 31., after four years leading the Children’s Department. Forde was hired in 2017.
“Carolyn Forde made a lasting impact on the community,” said Library Director Jessica Zellers. “She was responsible for traditional library services, like buying books and leading story time, as well as innovative programs like Summer Food, Summer Fun, which provided free meals to kids.”
“During my time at the T. B. Scott Library, I worked to support area families and promote early literacy,” Forde said.
Examples of this were: “Enhancing the second floor space to create new service points and better support learning and access to frequently used collections,” and “I also initiated our successful program collaboration with the Woodson Art Museum,” she said.
“I am grateful to the Library Board and community for this opportunity to serve,” Forde said.
Bennett is promoted to Youth Services [Head] Librarian
“It is my pleasure to let you know that Andrea Bennett will be serving as the new Youth Services Head effective September 1st,” Forde said in an August email to library patrons.
“After 14 years as Youth Services Assistant, Andrea Bennett is being promoted to Head of Youth Services on Sept. 1,” Zellers said. “She’s been with the Library for 14 years. We had a competitive search process with several experienced candidates in the region, but Andrea impressed the Search Committee with her background, knowledge, and passion for children’s librarianship. I am delighted to see her step into this leadership role.”
Bennett has a Bachelor’s Degree in Library Services with an emphasis in elementary education.
“I enjoy working with youth of all ages, promoting literacy through various programs, and working with our community partners. My favorite part of being a librarian is connecting with children and helping to build a love of the library,” Bennett said. “I am looking forward to my new role as Head of Youth Services and am excited to announce the opening of our new Literacy Adventure Park later this Fall.” [She promised more information to come on that.]