Montgomery Library hires new director

The Montgomery Area Public Library hired Nicole C. Loffredo as the new director of the library in the beginning of June.

She succeeded Susan Thomas, who retired after holding the position since 1997.

“I’m from the Jersey Shore area,” Loffredo said. “I went to Clarion University and graduated with my master’s degree in December 2016.”

She worked as an intern at the James V. Brown Library since September 2016, and she joined the Montgomery Area Public Library team in April, working with Thomas until Thomas officially retired in June.

“I always loved books. I always was a big reader. I actually went to school for early childhood education, and that didn’t really work out,” Loffredo said. “I just didn’t have the passion for teaching as I do for being a librarian. So, I kind of switched.”

Loffredo loves being in a library setting.

“I love meeting all the different patrons that come to the library. I love ordering the new books,” she said. “Summer reading just started. I only did one program so far, but I had a blast. I’m looking forward to doing more programs at the library.”

She said she really enjoyed getting to experience the summer reading program.

“Summer reading is kind of like a themed program for all the libraries. This year, it’s Build A Better World,” she said. “Each program, I will read a story, do like a craft or activity and then the children get to take home prizes or a snack.”

Her first experience working with the summer reading program has been enjoyable.

“They have to record the books that they read during the summer, and they bring back those sheets,” she said. “We get credit for the amount of books they read over the course of the summer.”

Having a good experience with the start of the programs, Loffredo said she’d like to start more programs at the library.

“I would like to expand the teen adult area. That’s something that I’ve discussed with the president of the board,” she said. “That’s not something that will happen over night, but that’s something I would like to do.”

She hopes to bring the younger generation back to the library.

“I would like to expand the children’s collection and have more programs for children and teens. It’s important because early literacy is huge in the whole growing up and development process,” she said. “It’s also important because they go to school and go home, but a library is a place where they can go, hang out, learn things and have fun.”

For her, the biggest difficulty in taking on the position has just been learning everyone’s names.

“The only difficulty as of now has been remembering everyone’s name that comes in,” she said. “I’m not from this area, so I don’t know anyone. I’m meeting everyone for the first time, learning everyone’s names and learning what the patrons like to read. That’s probably the most difficult part at the moment.”

She said while remembering names has been a challenge, meeting the new people has been her favorite part of the job so far.

“The best part is … meeting all the new people, making new acquaintances and seeing the people who come in here once a week or frequently,” she said. “You make connections. That’s the best part.”

She said she has been enjoying the position so far.

“When you say you’re the library director, it feels like a bunch of weight is on your shoulders because it’s a big title, but it’s not as overwhelming as I thought it was going to be, which is a good thing,” she said.

She said she believes her youth will help jump start more children and teen oriented programs.

“I’m 24 years-old, and I still read young adult books. It gives me the upperhand,” she said. “I know what’s trending in the young adult book world, and that allows me to purchase the new up and coming books in the young adult world because I still read it.”

She said making sure that the books children and teens want to read in stock is great to draw more of them into the library.

“It’s good for the community because it gets the younger generations into the library. We have that fresh set of eyes, and I think that’s something that I’m aiming towards. I want to bring in more teens and more children with a teen program,” she said. “That’ll bring them in.”

She said she hopes to make the library more of a central part of the town.

“It’s good because not only would they get out of the house and out of the school, they come here and it’s a community hub,” she said. “It lets them meet new people, hang out with friends and read a book or two, which is our main goal.”

Loffredo said she believes this is the perfect fit for her.

“I’m looking forward to working here, making some changes and bringing the community together,” she said.