Checking things in, checking things out

The New Matamoras branch of the Washington County Public Library provides books, Internet access, movies and more to residents of northeastern Washington County, as well as patrons from Monroe County and West Virginia.

Located at 101 Merchant St., the library is open six days a week and offers a variety of regular programming. Upcoming events include the summer reading program starting in June and the Coffee Break quilt show on May 14. Anyone is invited to bring their quilts and crafts to display that day starting at 10 a.m. More information is available by calling 865-3386.

Kelly Cochran Brady has worked at the branch for nearly 19 years and served as manager since 2003. She considers the library a “vital part of this community.”

Question: What are your duties at the library?

Answer: Other than waiting on patrons, checking things in, checking things out, I also do the ordering of the A/V materials, I request books for our branch, I assist patrons with computer use. We place holds on materials for patrons through other libraries. If we don’t have it here, we always say, “We don’t have it, but I can get it.”

Q: When did you start working at the library?

A: I started working here in 1994. The opening just came up, and actually the woman who was the manager at the time told my mom. … And I just kind of fell into it. I went to college to be an interior designer. I have a degree in that. But this came along, and it was perfect.

Q: Why was it such a good fit?

A: I love being able to help people. The students need science projects. I have patrons that come in with a project that they need research done. … I have people come in with bizarre random tools and finding out what it is. There’s a lot of satisfaction with that.

Q: What is your favorite part of your job?

A: I don’t know. I just like the whole thing. It’s very fascinating. It’s silly to say you love being surrounded by all of these books, but that’s part of it. … There’s not much up here. And we’re such a good resource for this area. And there’s a lot of pleasure in seeing the little kids come in for Story Hour and when they come back and they’re in high school and they’re still reading, you take a little bit of pride in that, in being able to foster that in people.

Q: How has working at the library changed over the years?

A: The big thing – and people still have trouble adjusting to it – is the old-fashioned card catalog’s gone. It’s all online. … Everything we do from looking books up to ordering books to checking things in and out, and that’s all computerized now. … It’s not old school anymore.

Q: What’s a service or material available at the library that a lot of people might not know about?

A: I would say right now the big thing (is) the eBooks. … You go online and you borrow an eBook just like you would a hardback book or a movie or a CD. … I would never, ever give up reading a “book” book, but eBooks are, they’re convenient.

Q: How important is the library to the community?

A: I personally find it extremely important … being that there’s not a lot up here. … You know, free movies in an area where people don’t have a lot of money is a good thing. We provide Internet access in an area where a lot of people don’t have computers. … We do children’s programming, Story Hour. I also do an adult program (Coffee Break) here once a week where we have adult speakers come in and talk about things. But we also provide, like, fax services. Where else do people go? If you need copies, you come here and you make your copies. … We also have computer classes.

Evan Bevins conducted this interview.