In Westerlo, new director happy to return to a rural library

Debbie Scott, the new director of the Westerlo Public Library shelves books

The Enterprise — Michael Koff

Debbie Scott, the new director of the Westerlo Public Library shelves books Monday morning. She is looking forward to connecting with the community.

WESTERLO — Debbie Scott wants the community to know that she — and the Westerlo Public Library — are here to serve them.

Scott, 48, started working as the Westerlo Public Library’s new director on Monday morning.

“It’s been going wonderfully,” she said on Monday afternoon, adding that she has enjoyed meeting the staff.

Scott previously worked as a librarian at Veeder Elementary School in Colonie, and has worked in several other school districts. She lives in Colonie with her husband and five children.

As a school librarian, she collaborated with teachers and developed research for students, Scott said. Working in a local library, “you’re reaching out to a community,” she said, serving patrons of all ages and backgrounds.

“You’re serving a much more broad group of people and you want to meet their needs as best as you can,” she said.

Scott grew up in the small farming community of Johnsonville, a hamlet in Rensselaer County. Her first job as a library director was at Heermance Memorial Library in Coxsackie, in Greene County.

“I was looking forward to being back in a small town … ,” she said of her decision to work in Westerlo. “I was looking forward to serving a community and a public library.”

The community she served at the Heermance Memorial Library, while having a slightly larger population, was a similar rural community. But she emphasized that each community and its needs are unique.

Scott received her master’s degree in library science in 1996 from the University at Albany.

“Personally, I love research and genealogy,” she said of her interest in being a librarian. “And I love reading and assisting other people in the community.”

She said that reaching out to people is very important in order to inform them of the library’s services. Her first priority is getting to know the library patrons, assuring them that the programs in place are not changing, and finding out what their needs are.

“The library is here to serve the community, and I want people to know that,” she said.

She would later like to visit local school districts like Berne-Knox-Westerlo and Greenville and find out what librarians in these school districts need or would like to do. She also would like to reach out to the community such as by attending town board meetings.

Scott is replacing Sue Hoadley, who retired after managing the Westerlo Library for a decade.  The position was advertised at $28,000 annually for 30 hours per week.

Scott said that she intends to move forward with the library’s five-year plan, which includes increasing parking at the library in order to make it more accessible.

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