Cynthia Jewett named NH Library Director of the Year at James A. Tuttle

  • James A. Tuttle Library Director Cynthia Jewett. Staff photo by Ben Conant

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Published: 10/20/2021 4:05:50 PM

James A. Tuttle Library Director Cynthia Jewett didn’t consider herself prepared for what working in a rural library would be like when she came into the job four years ago. Now, she’s New Hampshire’s Library Director of the Year for 2021.

“I was shocked, seriously,” Jewett said. She knew that the trustees were applying for the award, she said, but she was unprepared for the possibility of winning. The process, through the New Hampshire Library Trustee Association, included letters from the staff and community.

“I don’t think it’s an award just for me,” she added. “I think it’s a group effort – staff, trustees, and the community.”

Jewett came to the library after moving from Orlando, Florida, where she was an academic librarian, to help take care of a family member. “I had never worked in a rural library and I’m from a city, so I didn’t even know they existed,” she said. “Like, I knew they existed, but...this is so different.”

The differences, she said are exciting.

“This library, oh my gosh, I love it,” she said. “I love this library, the library work, the rural library is so fun because you do everything, everything you learned in library school and then some. It’s challenging, it’s fun, so many interesting people walk through the door.”

As the Director of a small library, she said, her hands are a little bit in every part of the day-to-day work, from cataloguing and programming to reading stories to kids.

“It’s been a lot of work, probably the most work I’ve ever done in my career, but I think also the most rewarding,” Jewett said. “It’s just so much fun, I really like it, and I’m surprised – I don’t think I could go back to working in an academic library or a large library. I just really like the small library.”

The work that she’s done has mostly been to push for the library to be more community-based, she said, in terms of trying to involve community members in decisions about the library and its programming.

“We survey them every year to see what they want in the library, we’re constantly taking suggestions,” she said. And moving forward, she hopes to do much of the same.

“Every time we survey the community we come up with different ideas to implement in the library and I think we’ll continue to do that,” Jewett said. “And I think that we want the library to remain updated and relevant for the community needs and we’ll change and adapt.”

“I’m very grateful,” Jewett said. And the award, which she said is for the entire staff and the community, will simply lead to more of that work to better the library for everyone.


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