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Library News

By: David Keeber, Library Director
For: Red Rock News
Date: April 3, 2009

Director Retires

This column will be my last as Director for Sedona Public Library.  Today, after 15 years I retire to turn my energies elsewhere.  Having written about 50 columns per year, 750 in all, I wanted to spend this column looking back at the growth of the Library and thanking the thousands of people with whom I have enjoyed working.  Sadly, there are limits to the length of this column, so I will have to skim the surface.

When first I came to the Director’s seat, SPL was a typical small town library located on Jordan Road.  It has always been a “private” library as it formed well in advance of the creation of the City of Sedona.  But, it has also always served the public and done so with an eye towards the community’s growth.  The collection has grown, the number of programs has done the same, staff numbers have increased, and through it all, our volunteers have held their half with pride and effectiveness.

In the 1980s, the Board had the foresight to see the growth of Sedona as making the original library unable to meet the community’s needs and they began the effort to build a new, larger facility.  In so doing, they designed a place that has become the heart of Sedona in many ways.  Accused of having built a Taj Mahal, too grand for this small town’s needs, it has become clear that their foresight and vision was, in fact, correct.

It was at the point of moving into this facility that I became Director and the charge to build library services to match this edifice was handed to me.  In the time since June 1994, new services have been added, the collection has grown, and the Library has become a crucial part of the town’s character.  Nonprofit organizations, clubs, individuals, government agencies, and the average citizen find more and more reasons to incorporate the Library into their daily lives.

It might be easy to make the claim that such growth was all because of me, but that would be false.  This Library is truly a community library because so many people and organizations see how it can be part of their lives and have become involved, each in their own way.  In a series of surveys of the community’s satisfaction with services, it was shown that as many as 85% of the community uses this Library every year!  That level of use is remarkable in any town, much less such a small town as Sedona.    

The efforts of everyone, from government funders to casual users, from staff to volunteers, from local organizations to our tourist visitors, all have combined to make Sedona Public Library one of the busiest and important resources in this town.  It has been my privilege to serve in my job here to facilitate that growth and the Library’s relevance to Sedona.

The biggest challenge of this career change will be to no longer have the regular contact with so many people that I have come to admire for their selfless service, to enjoy for their fascinating ideas, to chuckle at and with for their intriguing character traits.  I have made friends here that I would not have been able to in any other capacity, and I will have memories for years to come.

The most remarkable part of all of my time here has been the tone of the people here.  Whether it has been staff and volunteers, or the users, both regulars and visitors, there has been an overall air of enjoyment and happiness.  Yes, that may sound Pollyanna-ish, but the truth is that folks here are pleasant, happy, and engaging.  Imagine working for 15 years with happy and enjoyable people!  It has been a true treat to have had this opportunity to work for and with everyone here at Sedona Public Library.

Thank you to all I have had the pleasure to come in contact with.  My time here has been one of the best periods of my life. I have been thrilled to contribute in my own way to Sedona growth and history and am deeply grateful for this opportunity.  I look forward to seeing you all around town as I make a new start.

David Keeber
David Keeber, author of this week's article,
is Director of the Sedona Public Library.

Library News appears each Friday in the Red Rock News
and is also presented on: Gateway to Sedona and Sedona Biz.