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Librarian turns shelves over to seasoned hands

Librarians agree the challenge is to keep services relevant

Ray County Library director Steve Meyer is retiring from is post this month, and Rochelle McCaulley is assuming his duties. Meyer became the director after a career in education; McCaulley is a longtime library employee. (Photo by Sara Seidel/Richmond News)

Ray County Library director Steve Meyer is retiring from is post this month, and Rochelle McCaulley is assuming his duties. Meyer became the director after a career in education; McCaulley is a longtime library employee. (Photo by Sara Seidel/Richmond News)

By Sara Seidel/Richmond News Staff

Out with the old, in with the old.

In this case, “old” means longtime Ray County Library director Steve Meyer is retiring Aug. 31, and longtime employee Rochelle McCaulley is taking over the next day.

Thing is, Meyer has been prepping McCaulley for the takeover for years. They’ve worked together since Meyer signed on 10 years ago, and the transition plan has been in place for the past four years. It came together this summer when Meyer announced his retirement and McCaulley received her master’s degree in library science.

Meyer’s role began when he retired as superintendent of the Orrick School District. The Ray County Commission appointed him to the library’s board of directors, and he quickly became its president. That left him in charge of day-to-day operations of the library – which is not, by the way, part of the president’s duties – because the board was unable to find a willing, capable director to fill a vacancy. Despite offering the position to several candidates, the board was unable to hire a new director because, Meyer says, the salary was too low.

“So I said, ‘What if I resigned from the board and applied’ ” for the director’s position, Meyer said, adding that the commissioners agreed to accept his resignation only after they fully understood his intentions. “I interviewed and got the job and have been working ever since as library director.”

Early in his tenure, Meyer oversaw the completion of the new library building, consolidating the efforts of the two boards responsible – the library board and the Friends of the Library. He’s proud to note that the library was able to pay off a 30-year note for that construction in just seven and a half years.

“We’re debt free, and we’re operating on the same levy that we have (been operating on) since 1954,” Meyer said.

Meyer says he has relied on McCaulley’s knowledge and input from the beginning. He’s been managing the personnel, facility and budget, but she and her colleagues have been managing the book collections.

McCaulley’s initial affiliation with the library began before Meyer’s, but then paralleled it.

While in high school and college, she worked part-time at the facility, which was then housed in what’s now the county public administrator’s office.

“I started in high school working with Janice Cox-Proffitt” and continued working part-time while attending college, McCaulley said.

The complete story is in the Thursday, Aug. 6, 2015 Richmond News.

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