A new chapter at the libraryLongtime library employee Renee Paasch recently assumed the duties of library director when Cheryl Tollefson retired after 37 years with the Dickinson Area Public Library.
By: Linda Sailer, The Dickinson Press
Longtime library employee Renee Paasch recently assumed the duties of library director when Cheryl Tollefson retired after 37 years with the Dickinson Area Public Library.
“It’s picking up the torch and going forward,” said Paasch. “There’s always new things developing. The biggest challenge, I see facing all libraries, not just this library, is keeping up with technology.”
She credits Tollefson for being on the cutting edge of technology for the library.
“When I started, there were no computers, no Internet,” said Paasch. “Now we have 24 public-access computers. We have wireless Internet service.”
In addition, the library is forming a consortium with other libraries in the state to provide audio books to download and that will hopefully be ready this year, she said.
Paasch started working at the library in 1984 as a parttime shelver.
“Then I started working at the circulation desk and eventually I got a bookmobile route,” she said. I’ve actually done about everything except cataloging. I’ve been here long enough to have worked in every area. It’s really a good background to take over as library director.”
Paasch has a bachelor’s degree in business administration with a library science minor.
“Prior to the library, I worked in offices, so I think this is a good marriage of the two,” she said.
She’s busy working on the 2011 budget.
“Theres a lot of accounting principles being applied and a big part is business,” she said.
Prior to accepting the director’s position, Paasch was the library’s interlibrary loan and acquisitions librarian. In that position, she requested materials from other libraries or sent out items from Dickinson.
The library has eight part-time and five full-time employees. Paasch’s old position opened after she took the director’s job on July 1.
“It’s been exciting and I’m a little apprehensive,” she admitted. “I’ve been coming to the library since I was a child. I can remember walking up those marble stairs...”
Paasch feels honored to have the position.
“It’s not only a job, it’s a lot of memories for me,” she said. “I have had such a good example in Cheryl Tollefson that I do feel prepared to take over.”
Paasch is also working with planners and contractors to finish a parking lot on the north side of the building.
“There will be 22 parking spaces, two of which will be handicapped accessible,” she said. “It was purchased by the Library Foundation.”
Paasch has seen an increase of patrons since her early days.
“Every day we’re having people sign up for new library cards,” she said. “It’s definitely busier. A big part, I think is because of the increased oil activity.”
Paasch and her husband, David live on a farm north of Dickinson. While he’s retired, she’s enjoying her new challenges.
“I work at a place and a job that I just love or I wouldn’t have been here for 25 years,” she said. “Every day brings new challenges, but that’s one of the things I really love about working in a library. It never gets boring. It never gets old. You never know what the next question is going to be.”
Paasch wants the public to know that she’s their librarian — that she’s not just sitting at a desk inside her office.
“I love working at the circulation desk because I love helping people,” she said.