DARIEN, Conn. -- The Darien Library's annual meeting included a presentation on the year’s developments by board President Bruce Ferguson, the election of board officers and trustees, an interview with retiring director Louise Berry and a reception.
New officers elected were: Amy Cholnoky, President; Tad Smith Vice President; Kathy Hammell, Treasurer; and Charlie Barnett, Secretary. New trustees are: Jan Smith, Ed Barksdale and Kevin Gasvoda.
Honorary Trustees Ann S. Mandel and George U. Wyper interviewed Louise Berry about her 35 years of service to the library and to the Darien Community. Thirty-five years ago, Ann Mandel had encouraged Berry, who was then working at the Westport Library, to apply for the position at the Darien Library. Here are Berry’s responses to some of the questions asked.
Berry said she would like the notion of extreme customer service to be her legacy, with the customer service received by all patrons noticeable by all. Also having the library considered the “heart and soul” of the Darien community is something she is proud of.
Her most enjoyable thing about working at the library comes from her passion for public service and joy from doing something worthwhile for the community. She likes the way the people of Darien as well as the library trustees and staff are committed to supporting the library.
As a child, she said she was often intimidated by the library. She also loves the way the children of Darien enjoy the library. She also has enjoyed working on the annual budget process and working with the town fighting for the library’s fair share of the town budget. “It is a real democracy at work” said Berry.
Berry is proud of the way the library has become the cultural heart of the community and takes pride in the innovative program ideas that come from her entire staff. Last year’s programs were diverse including programs on drones and a harmonica concert. This year they are working on a collaborative art program with the Museum of Modern Art.
She offered advice for Alan Gray who will be taking over for Louise in February and said Gray has been making her look good for 10 years. She is confident that he will carry on her leadership because he is dedicated to encouraging risk taking and listening to good ideas from the staff, the trustees and the Darien community.
Berry, who will be moving to New Hampshire, has been working in libraries since she was 13, and looks forward to taking time for herself and her family. She plans to pursue her interests in traveling, reading and cooking.