By Marcy Stamper
“I have always been a reader — since I was a girl — and I always got my books in the library. I love books and being around people who love books,” said Dawn Woodruff, Twisp’s first new librarian in more than three decades.
Woodruff spent her first official day behind the desk and among the shelves in the Twisp library on Saturday (Jan. 3), replacing Terry Dixon, who retired at the end of the year. “It was great, very busy — it was fun,” said Woodruff.
Woodruff has been volunteering and subbing in the Winthrop library for almost three years, and for almost a year in Twisp. Dixon and Winthrop librarian Sally Portman have both been great mentors, teaching her how the library works and how to advise patrons about the library’s collection, she said.
Beyond her love of books, Woodruff brings a background in wildlife biology and — more recently — in computers and computerized mapping. For the past 15 years, she did website maintenance and provided tech support at Methownet.com, and was also the information technology coordinator at the Methow Conservancy. She will continue her job at the Conservancy, maintaining computers and mapping their conservation easements, but she worked her last day at Methownet last week.
Woodruff expects her computer experience will be an asset at the library. “Every day people at the library need help on the computer. I’m used to talking to people to help them feel empowered, so they can figure it out on their own next time,” she said.
Woodruff plans to hold a training session early this year to help people understand some of the computerized resources at the library — in particular, the availability of e-books that can be downloaded, for free, to patrons’ e-readers. “More and more people read on devices, but it’s not super-intuitive” at first, she said.
Still loves books
Despite being very comfortable in the world of computers, Woodruff still does her reading on paper. “I like the feel and smell of a book,” she said.
Woodruff particularly likes contemporary fiction, but also reads a lot of nonfiction. She has been expanding her horizons, reading teen and junior books and other genres so she can make recommendations to all library users.
“One of the cool things that happens is, when people turn in their books, they tell you if they liked them. I always ask them why,” said Woodruff. “Especially if they said they never would have read it, but a friend recommended it and they loved it.” It’s those discoveries that give her an especially good sense of what a book is like and who else might enjoy it, she said.
Woodruff, who has been running story time once a month in Winthrop for a year a half, said she loves seeing kids inspired by books. She is also excited about continuing the library’s special summer programs, which feature experts in wildlife, science and history and are geared to both kids and adults.
“It was so cool being in here Saturday,” said Woodruff. “People congratulated me and some wondered what would happen now that Terry was gone. It was great to see moms in their late 20s or early 30s who remember going to the summer reading program [when they were kids], and now they’re here with their own kids.”
“Lots of people came by to say good-bye to Terry, but not everyone thought of the library as a community resource. People have no idea there are computers, DVDs and research here — it’s all free. It would be awesome if people just stopped in to see what the library has to offer,” said Woodruff.
In addition to the new face behind the desk, the Twisp library will have different (and extended) hours — it will now be open on Fridays and closed on Mondays. The change was made to accommodate deliveries of ordered books, which arrive on Wednesdays and Fridays, meaning that people whose books arrived on Fridays could not pick them up until Saturday at the earliest. The library in Winthrop is still open on Mondays.