DARIEN, Conn. -- Darien Library Director Louise Berry is set to retire next month after 35 years.
Berry's leadership fortified a new philosophy of "extreme customer service" that has helped the library become popular in the local community, said Rebecca T. Miller in a story on LibraryJournal.com. The philosophy means being able to anticipate the needs of library patrons. Berry helped implement practices including displaying recently returned items on a large screen at the library and staying open after normal hours on finals week, according to the Library Journal story.
“I like to say that before Louise, the attitude at the library was ‘keep the people out and the books in.’ With Louise, it is ‘keep the books out and the people in,’” said former longtime library trustee Ann Mandel in the Library Journal story. “Of course, now there is so much more than books on offer.”
Gretchen Caserotti, director of the Merdian Library District, told the Library Journal that Berry has always had faith in her staff.
“She became a director when she was in her 30s (like me) and came to it with confidence and vision to make things better for the patrons right from the start,” said Caserotti in the Library Journal story. “Louise tells stories of the fast and easy changes she was able to enact to improve their experience at the library, to change it from a staff-centered philosophy to one that is patron-focused.
"She had struggles along the way, of course, battling gender stereotypes and the usual stuff, but managed to grow that sleepy little Connecticut library into an internationally recognized one.”