Atmore Public Library turning to a new page

Published 6:57 pm Wednesday, December 7, 2005

By By Janet Little Cooper
Cathy McKinley is probably the only other person around who knows the books of the Atmore Public Library other than Joyce Bolden.
In fact, McKinley had to enter all of those books into the libraries first ever computer-generated system in 1990. It took her two years to get all of the books entered.
McKinley has been named the new Director of the Library by the Library Board and assumed her position yesterday on Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2005.
She has worked in the library for 15 years as a Technical Librarian. Among her many duties she worked closely with her predecessor, Mrs. Joyce Bolden performing secretarial duties for her.
"When I came to work here, I was in the mindset that it would be so easy," McKinley said. "I thought I would spend the entire day stamping books. I was shocked. There is so much to do everyday in the library and nothing is the same. Everything is different."
McKinley, who is excited about her new position, never dreamed her job at the library would lead to this.
"Never in my wildest dreams, would I have thought that I would be the director," McKinley said. "I've always known Mrs. Bolden would work until she was 70, but I never intended or thought I would be moving in her place."
Mrs. Bolden, obviously thought differently. She recommended McKinley to the board as a replacement to follow in her footsteps. Bolden began preparing McKinley for the transition of her retirement.
"She started giving me some of her duties," McKinley said. "I have been going to Montgomery for the administrators meetings statewide for a couple of years now."
Applying for and receiving grants for the library is a highlight of her job. McKinley has assisted Mrs. Bolden in writing numerous grants for the library.
"It is so exciting when we receive a grant," McKinley said. "I also love it when we get in new shipments of books. It is like Christmas. I especially like seeing the new children's books."
McKinley has many ideas that she would like to see implemented. Among those ideas, she will be applying for grants to increase the libraries technology department by adding more computers.
"Technology has taken over," McKinley said. "Since we opened on July 11 after Ivan, we have had 260 new members registered and the computers have been accessed over 1,700 times from then till Sept. 30. We have enough computers during a normal day, but after 3 p.m. when the students are out of school and research papers are assigned we don't have enough."
The library presently has six computers available for public use. Students are given first priority to use the computers after school hours and from 8 a.m. until 1 p.m. on Saturday's.
Middle and High School students can assess sample test on the computers to help prepare them for the Alabama Exit Exam that is required to graduate.
"I would also like to get additional reading software in the children's department," McKinley said. "We have a few, but I want something that the parent's can come in and work with their child on their specific needs for reading."
McKinley would also like to implement some sort of program targeted for the Senior Citizens of the area – especially ones who have lost a spouse.
"There is one senior in particular that came in the library all the time," McKinley said. "She had lost her husband and told me that if it wasn't for the library she would not have made it."
McKinley wants to reach the Senior Citizens and the kids and all those in between. She is confident the library will continue to be successful and meet the needs of its community.
"I have the best group to work with from the staff to the board," McKinley said. "I have worked closely with the board members on a regular basis and know what a wonderful group of people they are. Everything will remain the same. The staff will remain my co-workers and I will certainly get their opinions on things."
Bishop Lyons, chairman of the library board, is pleased with McKinley's decision to accept the position, but will no longer be working with her. Lyons has resigned from the board effective Jan. 2006.
"Cathy is an excellent choice to take Joyce's place," Lyons said. "She has worked alongside Mrs. Bolden for a long time now."
Mrs. Bolden's retirement doesn't come easy for the soft-spoken McKinley. She said that she tries not to think about it, but will definitely stay close with Mrs. Bolden and take any advice or help she can give.
And like, Mrs. Bolden, McKinley has plans to work until she too turns 70 years old.
"I will step down from director before that time though," McKinley said. "Someone younger will need to step in and take over."
McKinley is looking forward to serving the city in a job that she loves and plans to help the community in anyway she possibly can.
McKinley is married to Steve McKinley of Atmore and they have one daughter, Connie who is married to Chris Wilson of Atmore. They have two children, her children, Dustin and Steven Wilson.

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