RUMFORD — Tamara Butler has a lot of ideas for creating more connections between the Rumford Public Library and the community.

The new director of the library began her duties last month, taking over from Luke Sorensen, who served for the past five years.

“I’d like to see more of a variety, maybe some things to bring some teens in,” she said. “That’s an area I think we could really beef up. It’s becoming more of a community hub.”

Butler said she tries to keep up with what’s going on around the country, including programs that serve communities within the community. “A lot of libraries do outreach for seniors or people who are disabled who can’t get to the library,” she said.

“So I think there’s a lot that we can do. This is a busy place, which is a good thing. We have a lot of community involvement, which is another selling point,” Butler said.

“I’ve worked in public and academic libraries,” she said. “When I was in public libraries, there was a lot of programs going on, so that’s an area I think we can do more in. We had the poet laureate in. Next week we’re having Kevin Mannix. I’m not familiar with him but I’m interested in hearing what he has to say.”

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She described the Rumford library staff as “very knowledgeable, experienced. That’s been a big help,” she said, which is a prime reason she said she’s felt comfortable in her role “right from the beginning.”

Butler said she was at her last job for almost 12 years. “I’m not afraid of change. It was exciting, but scary. But that was almost why I left, too, because I had been there so long, there weren’t any new challenges. So this is going back to where I started, in public libraries. It’s new excitement for me in the profession,” she said.

Her staff is willing to try new things, she said. “We’re starting a volunteer program, which we really didn’t have going before. We’ve had five people (including three teens) who’ve applied. We want to get some volunteers in to help with projects. I love to have teens in because they keep us up to date with what’s going on and what’s popular.”

The library’s website, rumford.lib.me.us, is being redesigned “to make it more user friendly,” Butler said. “We’re going to add links on to our Facebook facebook.com/rumfordlibrary) and Twitter ([email protected]) and try to promote that,” she said.

Butler is also writing a monthly column called The Library Connection in the Rumford Falls Times, “so I can get the word out.”

She said the column is a “great way to let people know who don’t come in all the time. There might be something that they never thought of that we could help them with.”

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Butler said she is adding more large print items and DVD movies to the collection because these are some of their most popular items.

She said people may not realize the library is a resource for movies.

“People think of the library for reading, but there are people who come in for videos,” she said. “We get the new releases as soon as they come out on Amazon, and we have waiting lists. They come in and take five at a time, that’s the limit. That’s another service that we’re providing is entertainment in that way as well.

“We have people that come in that need help with their computers. We had people come in who’ve bought a laptop and don’t know how to use it. We can sit down and help them,” Butler said.

Down the line, Butler said she’d like to do something with jobs and career training. “A lot of libraries have a lot of resources, computer training, to try to help people to get skills to help them out. Even having sessions on interviewing skills, things that people sometimes get rusty at. Bringing in professionals that can help people, like computer skills and things that would make a difference on your resume.”

She said she’s interested in hearing what community members would like to see their library offer. She can be reached at [email protected], or stop by the library during open hours.

Besides her years of experience, Butler has a wealth of academic accomplishments. She has a bachelor’s degree in English, a master’s degree in library science and seven master’s degrees in human services, “which is really good for here because you learn a lot of nonprofit management. I took a lot of courses in nonprofit management, sustainable funding, marketing of nonprofit services, so that was really helpful,” she said.

“There’s a lot of community-building that I want to do,” she said.

[email protected]


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