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Behind the Scenes at the Adams County Library: Making Connections Countywide

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One reference question I am commonly asked is…. Brandt, What Do You Do All Day? Sometimes this comes from our wonderful patrons and community members, and sometimes it comes from my fellow staff members (I Don’t Take That Personally!).

It’s a great question and the answer is every day is different. For the last two and a half years I have been the Assistant Executive Director of the Adams County Library System after seven and a half years of heading the Jean Barnett Trone Memorial Library in East Berlin, one of our six library branches here in Adams County.

The biggest responsibility I have is to make sure all of the department supervisors in our Gettysburg branch and the branch managers at our other five library locations in East Berlin, Carroll Valley, Biglerville, Littlestown, and New Oxford have what they need to do their jobs and provide wonderful library service to our community. That is where the connections come in, I connect the service at all of our branches in Adams County with the tools, resources, advice, and offer my experience as a branch leader to them to help them and their libraries grow.

Each one of our six branches in Adams County is different and has different needs. Gettysburg is our largest and busiest branch in the county. Staff here serve a large and diverse population. We also have visitors all summer in to use our technology resources. All of the administrative functions for all six branches in the system happen at the Gettysburg Library. 

Trone Memorial Library in East Berlin and the Harbaugh-Thomas Library in Biglerville are the next biggest and busiest branches. The Harbaugh-Thomas Library has our only Teen Center in the county which is extremely popular after school. Trone Memorial Library serves a wide part of the northeastern region of Adams County which includes a large homeschooling population. 

Our three mighty but smaller branches are about the same size and same circulation, but they all have their quirks. The New Oxford Library has strong usage from Cross Keys Village at the Brethren Home so fresh large print resources are always needed there. Carroll Valley has a big commuting population to Maryland and elsewhere so audiobooks are popular at that branch. Littlestown, like Gettysburg, has a very diverse population socioeconomically. They are also experiencing changes in demographics as a large 55 and older community continues to be built in the Littlestown Borough.

The goal I have in my job is that I can share my experience as a Director of a branch to help all of our branch managers and department heads sure up any problems that they might encounter while also assisting the library system administrative staff with projects here in Gettysburg.

In thinking about the assignment to write about what I do all day, I decided to make a list of what my normal week looks like. I once prided myself on never having to write to-do lists down and could remember it all in my head, but those days are long gone. So for fun, I created the following list of what I do in a typical week, since I would have to write it down anyway if I were actually going to need to do them…

  • Check email. So much is handled via email now that it’s a big part of my job.
  • Speak with the branch managers and department heads regularly to hear their experiences and help wherever I can with any situation.
  • Order e-books. I get the fun job of ordering the new cart of e-books every Friday. Cloudlibrary, our e-book and e-audiobook platform, does a great job of showing us what is new and popular and we get to select the best titles for our patrons to enjoy. I also coordinate the ordering of all other library sections with our professional staff members.
  • Check Email (Did I mention that already?)
  • Attend Meetings (I can average 3-5 meetings a week some weeks). Most are either board planning and committee meetings, supervisors meetings, or monthly Board of Trustees meetings.
  • Attend our Friends of the Library meetings throughout the county. This usually averages one meeting a week.
  • I also represent the library in the Kiwanis Club of Gettysburg and Adams County. Shameless plug: The Kiwanis Club is always looking for new members to help us serve the children in the county.
  • Check Email (I get a lot of emails…)
  • Assist the Administration Team with building and other issues experienced around the county. You never know what is going to break next. This week it was Gettysburg Library’s heating system. Luckily replacement parts for our 1960s boiler were found and we are nice and toasty warm again.
  • Do whatever Laura Goss, our Executive Director, tells me to do. I try to make her life easier at all times!
  • Represent the library system when asked at community meetings and events throughout Adams County.
  • Check Email… I really do more than just check email, but I get hundreds of emails a day so it always feels like I’m checking email.
  • Other Duties As Assigned: This is our favorite phrase at the library. You just never know what is going to come up and what you might be doing next. There are many other things I do only monthly, quarterly, or yearly, but those I will have to save for another entry.

Whatever part of Adams County you might live in, connect with one of our six great library facilities. Our programming calendar is online and our What’s Happening calendar is on the homepage of our website, www.adamslibrary.org. Printed copies of the What’s Happening program guide are available in each library. I can’t wait to see you at the library soon. Have a super 2022.

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  • Great insight into the inner workings of the most valuable resource that Adams County has to offer!
    Brandt has a great sense of humor and an obvious dedication to a job well defined and efficiently done.
    Thanks for a week written and informative article.

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