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Redwood Falls Gazette
  • Learning for all ages: Teri Smith transitions from Early Childhood to public library director

  • When she was growing up on a farm near Redwood Falls, Teri Smith read constantly; “I don’t remember going to the library that much; I’m not sure where all the books came from,” Smith said this week in her new office as Library Director for the Redwood Falls Public Library....
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  • When she was growing up on a farm near Redwood Falls, Teri Smith read constantly. “I don’t remember going to the library that much; I’m not sure where all the books came from,” Smith said this week in her new office as Library Director for the Redwood Falls Public Library. “My parents read all the time, in instilled in me a real love of reading.” (Her favorite genres today: historical fiction, mystery, and a little science fiction.) Until last month, Smith was coordinator of three early childhood programs at Reede Gray Elementary School: ECFE, Discovery, and School Readiness. Why did Smith consider the move when the library director position came up? “It combines three of my passions,” she said. “It has my love of learning, which I believe is a life-long thing. Leadership: I enjoy being al leader, and want to be a good one. Literary: I love to read. “Libraries are the hub of learning; they’re where all the education pieces come together.” Smith pointed out the library already hosts programs for learning for all ages, such as the Lunch and Learn meetings, the book clubs, and all the childrens programs. Monday, March 3 was Smith’s first day at her new desk — in theory. “I spent my first two days at city hall, going over budgeting and payroll,” Smith said. “Some skills from my position at the school transferred over, but here they’re at a larger scale.” “I’m still learning all the different pieces of the puzzle that make up a library.” So far she admits to having a few surprises. “I’m still learning some of the new information, such as seeing patrons coming in and asking about borrowing ebooks. I also didn’t know about all the technology we have in our childrens section. I’m also getting to know the Plum Creek Library System.” Smith’s mother, Sharon Kretsch, was a library clerk from 1988 -2007, and has been a big supporter of her daughter’s move. “It’s been really nice to see,” said Kretsch, visiting the library on Thursday. “It’s been kind of a coincidence, but I told her to just go with the flow.” “I haven’t asked my mom any questions,” Smith said. “A lot has changed since Mom was a library clerk — the technology, the ebooks....” Once she’s settled, Smith hopes to expand on the library’s offerings and facility. To her, a library is more than a place to pick up or drop off books. “I love to see people come here and spend two or three hours. I love to see whole families come in together,” she said. To welcome Smith, the library will host an open house on Thursday, March 13, from 3-5 p.m.

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