Library director retiring after eight years

Published 10:16 am Friday, November 23, 2018

Davie County Public Library will see its director, Jane McAllister, off into retirement this December.

McAllister joined the library in 2003 at the same time that she started her graduate studies toward an master’s in library science degree. In 2010, she became the library director.

Her first area of responsibility was in the Martin Wall Local History Room.

“I was fortunate to learn about Davie County history from county historian, James Wall, and history room management from Doris Frye,” says McAllister. “Those individuals were both my mentors and my friends, and I treasure the time I had with them.”

It was during her stint in the history room that the NC Digital Heritage Center was established under the auspices of UNC-Chapel Hill, so Davie County Public Library served as a beta customer with its online exhibition of more than 800 scanned images depicting local history. Digital Davie today is tapped by local schools as well as authors and researchers across the country.

McAllister worked with history room volunteer, Debra Dotson, to produce two photographic histories of Davie County in the Images of America series.

As director, McAllister migrated the library to a new consortial integrated library system which enabled state-wide lending and borrowing of resources and led to the Student Access initiative with Davie County Schools, whereby every student in the school system can access library resources using their unique student ID number. Local students also can benefit from the free online tutoring service. The library also joined an eBook consortium and launched the NC Kids electronic book collection under McAllister’s leadership.

As technology became a core part of public libraries, Davie added a number of technology devices and services, providing exposure and assistance to staff and patrons. Pre-school children particularly enjoy the AWE and Seedling early literacy devices. Tech tutoring is one of the most popular services offered to patrons, and will no doubt continue to grow. Job seekers continually find assistance at the public library.

During her tenure as director, McAllister developed a staff with strong technology competency and customer service focus. “The public library seeks to be a warm and welcoming place for all residents, and a comfortable event and meeting site in our community,” says Beata Eaton, customer service supervisor.

Kathy Tatum Crews, chair of the library board of trustees, says: “Davie County has always had a great library with excellent leaders, so Jane knew she had big shoes to fill when she took the position of director.  Jane McAllister has taken our small library to amazing places and is an example to much bigger libraries.

“Concern for the citizens of Davie is evident in all that our library has done.  She has led the staff with many innovative projects that have addressed many needs in the community. She always has looked for ways to improve services. Jane will be missed. We all thank her for her dedication to our community.”

County Manager John Eller says: “For the past eight years, Jane McAllister has been our library director.  She is loved by her staff, community, and peers (being recently named Library Director of the Year by the N.C. Public Library Directors Association.

“I have had the pleasure of working with Jane over the past two years. It didn’t take long for me to see how passionate she is about our community, patrons, and her staff. Jane has an aura of optimism and hope, always seeing possibilities.  She has made such a positive impact in Davie County from her work with the Humane Society, to helping keep our local history alive.

“Not only does she value the institution that libraries have always been in their communities, Jane has a vision of what is needed to position them for the future,” Eller said. “E.E. Cummings once said, ‘The most wasted of all days is one without laughter.’ While I am sad to see her retire, Jane lives life to the fullest and is an example for us all to follow.  She is always joyful, and I am happy for Jane to move on to this next phase in her life knowing that she will continue to ‘laugh’ daily.  We are better because of her.”

The  trustees invite you to drop by the library on Sunday, Dec. 9 between 3 and 5 p.m. to wish Jane well in her retirement adventures.