Vicky Terry Settling In As New PCFL Director
Marlinton, WV – Vicky Terry took over as executive director of the Pocahontas County Free Libraries earlier this year. She’s says her long history with the libraries has prepared her well for taking on her new responsibility, although she says it’s been a challenge to go from head librarian at the McClintic branch in Marlinton, to overseeing all five branches. I asked her where the libraries are going from here.
“That’s an excellent question and you know, you’ve all heard this before, but it’s going to depend on our funding,” says Terry. “We don’t have steady, secure funding. We get a lot of our money from the County Commission and we’re very thankful for that, but it’s based on the Hotel/Motel tax which as we all know, varies every year. So it’s really difficult to create a budget that you can count on when you’re not quite sure how much money’s going to be coming in.”
Because Pocahontas County lost population in the 2010 census, it also means less library funding from the state. But despite funding challenges, Terry says she thinks the libraries provide great value to the communities they serve.
“I’m really proud of this library system,” she says, “and I want to see that continue. I’d like to see a little bit more programming; I’d like to see a little bit more outreach into the communities, but like I said, funding is our big problem right now.”
She says they haven’t had to cut any positions, but that’s only because the staff levels are pretty bare bones now. In fact, the McClintic library only has Saturday hours thanks to a volunteer.
Terry, who started as a Vista volunteer at the Green Bank library in 2003, took over from Allen Johnson, the executive director for many years. As with any change in leadership, there is a transition period.
“I think that Allen and I are very different people,” she says. “We operate in different ways, but the nice thing is that we both have the same goal as far as the library goes. I think that for me it was a matter of coming up to speed; that’s been part of my personal transition.”
“Allen had so much information in his head that I’m trying that I’m trying to put into my head and that’s not always an easy thing to do. I may have a different approach because I have to be very organized myself in order to accomplish anything.”
Terry says she’s got his number on speed dial, just in case. One of the programs they’ve had to scale back is the library classes for kids from Marlinton elementary school. With less funding from the county Board of Education, they had to cut children’s librarian Debbie Johnson. While kids still come over and check out books, they no longer have the more detailed instruction that Johnson provided. Terry says she hopes to revisit those classes again, if the school system gets more discretionary funding.
She’s also committed to supporting the county’s historic preservation project, even though, like other programs, she’s still trying to get up to speed on all the particulars.
“Running the branch pretty much took up all of my time,” she says. “I mean I knew the project was going on; I think it’s a wonderful project because I personally am interested in history and genealogy. There has been some issue about the funding; I’ve been going on little fact finding missions here and there, I’m trying to talk to everybody involved bringing myself up to speed so that I understand exactly what the issue is.”
“And then I’m really hoping we can find a way to make it a win-win situation for everybody, because we definitely, we being the library, the library board, feel that this is an important project.”
A fundraiser for the library is coming up in March.
“I believe it’s going to be March 9th at the [Pocahontas] Opera House,” says Terry. “There will be a concert put on by Pam Lund’s music students. The kids have gotten together, they want to do a fundraiser for the library and I’m really excited. I love children’s programs whatever they may be. And I should say too that the Opera House is the co-sponsor of that project.”
Admission to the concert will be by free will donation. She says she appreciates all the hard work of the staff and volunteers at all five branches. She also says she can always use more volunteers, whether to man the front desk or just to shelve books. If you’re interested, you can reach Vicky Terry at 304-799-4165.