Brown County Library Director
by Bill Weaver
photo by Kyle Spears
As soon as Stori Snyder was offered the position as director of the Brown County Public Library retiring director Yvonne Oliger called to introduce herself. “She kept saying, ‘Everyone is very kind,’ Stori remembers. It was very welcoming, very inviting. I feel lucky to have been selected for this position.”
From her office on the main floor Snyder has learned a great deal. “I spent most of my time at the beginning at the front desk to meet people,” she says. “I’m trying to get a handle on things on a beginning level—like where do we have the extra staples?” she laughs. She’s even tried her hand at the plumbing. “That’s part of a library this size. There’s something nice about being involved with all its inner workings. You’ve got your thumb on its pulse.”
Snyder grew up in Richmond, Indiana, attending Ball State University, receiving her graduate degree at Indiana University in Bloomington. Her first job was at the Bloomfield-Eastern Greene County Public Library. “My role there was collection development—I did adult nonfiction and all the non-print items for adults.”
Since she was working part-time she also accepted a position in the
Children’s Department at the Monroe County Public Library. “Stori is a dynamo,” says librarian Christina Jones, who worked with her there. “She’s very energetic, a great person to work with because she always stays positive. She leads by example and holds herself to a high standard. I think she’s a good fit for the community.”
After two years of commuting between libraries Snyder accepted the position of interim director at Greene County. “It was sad to leave Monroe,” she remembers, “but it was a new opportunity, a whole new side of how libraries work, and a chance to try my hand at the director position.”
The experience of running a library led her to apply for the Brown County directorship when, after twenty years, the much beloved Yvonne Oliger decided to hang up her boots.
Stori says that the most common question she gets it what changes she expects to make at the library, but for now she’s more concerned with learning her job. “My approach is to observe and become part of the flow of the normal daily routine before I can start making suggestions,” she says. “I’m the quiet observer, piecing these things together, seeing how they work. Then I can bring about my questions and my suggestions.
“As of now everything seems to be running very smoothly. Yvonne handed over a nice little package,” she says. “The library is in great financial shape, which is something we’re very proud of in a time when financial situations for libraries are dreary. The staff is wonderful, top notch all the way around. I couldn’t be any luckier than to work with these individuals. The transition was easy in that respect.”
At any given time she might be working on next year’s budget, updating the website, sitting at the front desk, rebooting a faulty computer, meeting with community organizations, or fixing a loose toilet seat. “I knew what I was getting myself into,” she laughs. “I started at a small library and you have to wear many hats. We’re concerned about money and if there is something we can do ourselves that’s what we want to do.”
Before joining the library Stori knew Brown County mostly through its park, where she enjoys mountain biking with her husband, and by volunteering with the Brown County Humane Society. Since accepting the job she’s spent part of every day meeting people at the YMCA, the county fair, the T.C. Steele Historic site, and poking around town where folks stop to introduce themselves, wish her luck, and tell her how much they love their library.
“We do the same things as larger libraries,” she says, observing that “Brown County is not a large county but it’s spread out. That’s been a challenge: how do we get to all the little nooks and crannies in the county? We’d like to reach as many people as we can.
“It’s a great little jewel here,” she concludes. “We have 15,000 patrons—over 9000 with cards—this library is very well loved.”
There are activities available for people of all ages at the Brown County Public Library, 205 Locust Lane in Nashville, (812) 988-2850. To see the calendar of coming events, schedule a meeting, download an audiobook, or search the catalogue use their website at <www.browncounty.lib.in.us>.