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Library News

Thursday, March 15, 2012

The same energy and enthusiasm remain in the children’s and youth section of Forsyth Public Library with the recent arrival of Sandi Hayes as part-time youth services librarian. Hayes was hired to replace Rachel Miller, who was promoted to library director upon the retirement of Jean Campbell last October.

Hayes has an extensive computer background with an associate degree in computer processing from Illinois Central College in East Peoria. She was a computer programmer for 15 years and a former consultant for a utility company before joining the staff of the Hope Welty Public Library in Cerro Gordo, where she served as its director for the past five years. She received her library training with the Small Library Management Institute through the Rolling Prairie Library System.

While in Cerro Gordo, she introduced a teen program and offered students the option of participating in a study night during final exams.

“After the first couple of times, the teachers came in to tutor the kids and answer their questions,” Hayes said. Individual study groups were formed, and the library offered nutritious snacks throughout the evening. Hayes said she foresees the time when the same type of activity might be offered to Forsyth students.

Hayes would like to expand her job description as a children’s librarian to encompass youth services for all ages. Once a child reaches 14, Hayes said, sports and extra curricular activities take center stage.

“It’s a hard age … there’s so much potential for that age group,” she said as she projected her hopes to reach that age group by increasing their library use by sharing her technology skills and combining it with her lifelong joy of reading.

“My reading choice is adult fiction, but my preference is young adult and middle reader books,” she said.

Focusing on youth and working with the schools are goals that Hayes will mix with traditional library programs such as storytimes on Thursdays and Saturdays in March and April, and the fast approaching summer reading program with this year’s theme “Reading Is So Delicious.” Hayes promises that there “…will be some exciting things here this summer.”

Hayes and her husband and a teenage son currently live in LaPlace. The couple also have two married daughters and a 4-year-old grandchild. “I’m one of these grandmas who buys books for birthdays and Christmas,” Hayes said.

The family’s future plans include relocating to Forsyth. In the meantime, Hayes combines her 25-minute commute to Forsyth with other activities, such as studying creative writing at Richland Community College, where her husband also joins her for a night class in Spanish. “I believe in continuing education,” she said.

Hayes can be found at the Forsyth Library during a 30-hour work week Tuesday through Friday.

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