New library director looks to meet new library needsJamestown’s newest library director says he wants to celebrate the past of the library while embracing its future. “I think the more technology we can make available, the more we can make people see the library as not only a place of the past, but a place of the future as well,” said Joe Rector, director of the James River Valley Library System. “And I really want that.”
By: Kari Lucin, The Jamestown Sun
Jamestown’s newest library director says he wants to celebrate the past of the library while embracing its future.
“I think the more technology we can make available, the more we can make people see the library as not only a place of the past, but a place of the future as well,” said Joe Rector, director of the James River Valley Library System. “And I really want that.”
Rector started his work in Jamestown in June, with two weeks of training with previous library director Daphne Drewello. Drewello retired from the post after 33 years on June 30.
Rector grew up in Michigan, graduating from Andrews University in Berrien Springs, Mich. In 1992 and Union College, Lincoln, Neb., in 1998. He taught high school English and history for 11 years before he decided to change careers, and returned to school at the University of Oklahoma.
Rector has completed the coursework requirements of his degree but is still working on his thesis, which will focus on church libraries and how they meet people’s needs for information. He is looking for churches in the area that have libraries — and parishioners willing to take a survey on the subject.
“Daphne has made a special attempt to provide Christian fiction … in a lot of libraries, Christian fiction is overlooked,” Rector said.
He praised Drewello and the library staff for their dedication as well as their helpfulness in teaching him about his new job.
One of his goals for the James River Valley Library System, which includes the Alfred Dickey Library and the Stutsman County Library, is to improve its accessibility to technology and promote tech in the community.
To that end, Rector has already purchased five Kindles and two iPads, which are expected to arrive this week.
“I actually envision the library having very few tower-type computers, and ultimately, have a place people can sit while they check out a device from the desk,” Rector explained. “We want people to just be able to sit down in greater comfort and at the same time, we would be saving space.”
The Alfred Dickey Library is uniquely rooted in history, he said, calling it a “testament to the values and sacrifices that were made in this community to build this library.”
At the same time, he added, “there are a lot of things that people are coming to expect from libraries now that we are unable to offer, because we don’t have the space.”
For example, the library could partner with schools to display children’s art projects, or to invite students participating in speech to give their speeches for the community.
Rector hopes to increase foot traffic to the library, while providing the best service and information possible — and making the library the most inviting place possible, too.
“Libraries are wonderful places, not just to obtain information, but to interact with other people,” Rector said. “It’s a social place. It’s the heart of the community.”
For example, a jigsaw puzzle now lies on one of the Alfred Dickey Library’s tables. Many people have worked on the puzzle a few pieces at a time, and all the borders are complete. It will take more work and more cooperation to fill in the rest.
Rector has been impressed by the level of support Jamestown and Stutsman County have shown the library, and by the community in general.
“I’ve been really excited to move here. It’s a wonderful city where the pace of life seems right for what we want, what we’re looking for,” Rector said.
He and his family are hoping to purchase a home soon. His wife, Jennifer, is a teacher’s aide at Lincoln Elementary School. Their son, Jason, is 6 years old. Jennifer’s grandfather lives in Jamestown, and has other family in the area too.
Rector himself often drove past Jamestown during his family vacations as a child.
“He had the qualifications, he had the know-how, the expertise,” said Dale Marks, a member of the JRVLS Library Board. “It seemed like he was a great fit for our library system … he’s done a fantastic job.”
Sun reporter Kari Lucin can be reached at 701-952-8453 or by email at email@example.com