New Rensselaerville Library Director: “It’s quite providential”

The Rensselaerville Library’s new director, Heidemarie Carle, describes the opportunity to serve the Hilltowns community with the experience she’s built up over decades with non-profit and government organizations as “providential.”

RENSSELAERVILLE — Heidemarie Carle has loved books and libraries all her life; now, she’ll have a chance to run one.

 After its former director, Kimberly Graff Zimmer, took a job in Cobleskill, the Rensselaerville Library has announced Carle as its new director.

“It’s quite providential that this occurred at this time,” Carle told The Enterprise. 

Born in Queens and raised in Lafayette, New York, Carle went West with the National Park Service. She started her career in New Jersey, then moved to Hyde Park, then Boston, and from there to Texas, Kentucky and California. 

“Most of my adult life I’ve lived ‘elsewhere,’” Carle joked.  

Her career has spanned a number of administrative titles with both the government and not-for-profit organizations, with responsibilities that she said “usually ran along the lines of organizing big events.”

Most recently, she worked in public affairs for the California Department of Transportation before she moved to Rensselaerville in June with her partner to be near their families, who are spread around upstate New York. They also wanted to escape the wildfires of California, she said.

Carle and her partner were in California during the Camp Fire, the state’s deadliest and most destructive fire.

“We had to help friends sift through the ashes of their home,” Carle said.

In Rensselaerville, Carle found solace not just in the environmentally safe locale, but in its warm and gracious people. 

“I did a lot of research and was very impressed by what the residents showed they care about, of which the library is one, and historical preservation,” Carle said. “All things very near and dear to my heart.

“Community — with a capital ‘C’ — seems to be the focus of many of the people I’ve met.”

And for Carle, who has spent her career working with and developing communities, it seemed like a perfect fit when her brother, who works for the Upper Hudson Library System, sent her the job listing for director at Rensselaerville Library.

“We had just moved here, and I had always wanted a job where I could not just work for the community but give back to the community,” Carle said.

Plus, she’s been a lifelong lover of libraries. As a young girl, Carle frequented the Queens Public Library with her parents, who as avid readers, she says, instilled in her a passion for books.

“I was a kid who read books under the sheets with a flashlight,” Carle said with a laugh.

“She had all the qualities we were looking for,” said Linda Styer, president of the library’s board of trustees. “She moved a lot … and she had to learn all sorts of new jobs and skills as she was moving, and she had a proven track record of being able to learn new positions and fields and do really well at things.”

Carle believes her ability to bring people together and identify threads of community will allow her to succeed in the position despite no direct library experience. Plus, she has the support of that same community behind her.

“I’m very fortunate to have an assistant library director here who is a genius with the collection,” Carle said.

Zimmer, too, has been helping to show her the ropes before Carle’s official start date of Dec. 5. 

And though Carle seems more than comfortable uprooting and bringing her skills to a new region of the country, she has no plans to leave what she considers a wonderful town and community.

“We plan on being here until we retire,” said Carle. “And then some.”

 

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