On May 17, Lynda Reynolds will be leaving her position as director of the Stillwater Public Library. Reynolds, who has served as the director since July 2001, is moving to be closer to her family.
“Both of my daughters are now on the east coast,” said Reynolds. “While the move will allow my husband and me to be closer to our daughters and grandchild, leaving Stillwater Public Library was not an easy decision to make.”
Reynolds joined the library in July 1993, serving as a part-time reference librarian, cataloger and then technical services supervisor. She was named interim director following the departure of former director John Augelli, before being named to the position in Feb. 2002.
“It’s bittersweet for Stillwater,” City Manager Norman McNickle. “Lynda has worked tirelessly to ensure that the library was a welcoming, vital, and integral part of Stillwater life. While she was involved in many improvements at the library over the years, I’d like to recognize her for community programming, highlighting the continued growth of the summer reading program and the outstanding success of the community read program.”
The library’s summer reading clubs register nearly 2,000 participants each year, while the community reading programs have attracted almost 20,000 in attendance over the years. It is a project from a “One Book, One Community” series that Reynolds counts among her major achievements.
“I am probably most proud of the library’s Angie Debo statue we installed during the ‘Prairie City’ reading series,” said Reynolds. “The statue is beautiful, of course, but for me, it serves as a physical manifestation of the work I’ve done here.
“I learned so much more about my job during the three years it took to plan and implement the project. It was through this process that I realized that to maximize the library’s impact, I had to have partners and community members to lean on along the way.”
These partnerships were vital in seeing the library through both its high points and its lows.
“It was our longtime partners and our dedicated readers who advocated for us when the library faced a 25% budget cut,” said Reynolds. “Without their support we would have lost many more services than we did.”
Budgets cuts were not the only challenges Reynolds had to face.
“Surprisingly, one of the most difficult parts of being director was just learning all of the ins and outs of maintaining this beautiful facility,” said Reynolds. “From getting the always-leaking roof placed and repairing heating pumps every year to recovering after a flood—these are definitely not the sorts of things they teach you in library school.”
And it has been the community’s perception of the library and its building that counts as the biggest change Reynolds has seen since she came to Stillwater.
“When I started, you had to come into the library to enjoy its services,” said Reynolds. “But we are no longer just about one building. We’re online. We’re in your homes, on your phones and at your workplace. We’re with you when you’re driving your kids to school, when you’re out on a country road and even if you go overseas on vacation. The library is everywhere.”
Ushering the library into this new virtual environment has been another of Reynolds proudest accomplishments, but to her staff it was the way she got the library there that was the real accomplishment.
“She allowed me the freedom to try new ideas and provided the encouragement to develop professionally,” said Elizabeth Murray, children’s services supervisor. “I have been spoiled having Lynda as my first director.”
Stacy DeLano, adult services librarian, agrees.
“Lynda has this particular ability that few do. She sees the details in things, which really helps us consider the costs and risks in everything we do. But she’s also a big dreamer. If we can justify the things we want to try, she steps out of the way and lets us dream big too. Not many people know how to do both, and it’s resulted in having a much more innovative and active library.”
It was that kind of leadership that created the Oklahoma Virtual Library.
“She is very forward thinking and not afraid of change,” said Andrea Kane, circulation supervisor. “Bringing eBooks to Stillwater and forming the OK Virtual Library Consortium has helped thousands of people across Oklahoma get access to materials they would not have otherwise had.”
Reynolds’ leadership in the Oklahoma Library Association (OLA) has also positively impacted people and libraries across the state. Reynolds served the organization as its Secretary, Treasurer, and President.
At the OLA conference in April, the membership passed a resolution recognizing Reynolds for her exemplary leadership and advocacy. Much of that advocacy took place as she served on the Legislative Committee which monitors actions that affects libraries. Her work with Sen. James Halligan and Rep. Lee Denney over the years resulted in increased aid to libraries and retention of local library control.
Reynolds will now be impacting the communities in North Carolina where she has accepted a position with the North Carolina Department of Libraries. Reynolds will be travelling across the state as a public library consultant providing the librarians there with many of the lessons she learned during her time as director in Stillwater.
Her hopes for the Stillwater Public Library once she leaves?
“I hope the library continues to be a vital and essential community hub,” said Reynolds. “And I hope the community continues to see what an amazing library it has and that it will continue showing the library the same support it has shown me.”
Reynolds service will be recognized at the Monday, May 14 City Council meeting at 5:30 p.m. A reception for Reynolds will be held at the library on Thursday, May 17. The come and go event will take place from 1:30-4:30 p.m. on the third floor. Gifts honoring Reynolds may be made to the Stillwater Public Library Trust.
The Stillwater Public Library is located at 1107 S. Duck St. (the corner of Duck and 12th Ave.). Visit the library online at http://library.stillwater.org.