Message from the Director

In August, the Essex Public Library Board of Directors selected me to take on the role of Library Director after the retirement of long-time Director Bess Haile. I officially joined our Library team in September. Filling such big shoes has been daunting, but I’m already learning the ropes and have truly enjoyed meeting our remarkable library users, as well as getting to know our outstanding staff.

I’ve worked in public libraries since 2006 and spent the last five years as a Branch Manager at Kanawha County Public Library in West Virginia, before accepting this position with Essex Public Library. I grew up on a farm in Cumberland County, Virginia, and I have a special interest in rural libraries. I understand the important role a public library can play for rural families.

With a strong background in computer and technology instruction, I also recognize how important technology skills are for people in every community. In today’s world of information, when someone falls behind in technology skills, they fall behind in other areas of life.

Other aspects of librarianship I feel particularly passionate about include marketing, early literacy for babies and toddlers, user-friendly library spaces, and community outreach. During the next year, I’ll start making improvements to our library furnishings and collection, as well as launch an early literacy campaign that will support our youngest community members and their caregivers, providing children with a strong foundation for learning that will help them succeed in school and beyond.

The public library is a place where lives are enriched and people are empowered. This conviction underscores the work I do every day and motivates me to provide top-notch library service. Essex Public Library is clearly well-loved. I’m thrilled for the opportunity to build on top of the excellent services that are already in place. My goal is to make this one of the best public libraries in the region.

Stop by and see me, and be sure to keep an eye on the cool things happening at your library during the coming months.

At Essex Public Library, we’re all about the story—YOUR story!

Dana Smook
Director, Essex Public Library

2 Comments on “Message from the Director”

  1. Dear Essex Public library,
    I believe that my library card may have expired.
    Could you please renew my card? I have taken a screenshot. If there is a relevant email, I could send this screenshot.
    Thank you

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