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Scituate library Director Meeker to retire after 23 years

Posted by Jessica Bartlett  November 28, 2012 04:16 PM

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Kathy Meeker (waving) acknowledges applause from residents at this month's special Town Meeting, after her retirement as director of Scituate Town Library was announced. Photo by Jessica Bartlett.

After 23 1/2 years in the position, Scituate Town Library Director Kathy Meeker is about to retire.

For Meeker, whose last day will be Dec. 7, the change will be a big one.

“I have mixed feelings. I’m going to miss so much of this community, but I am anxious to get on with the next phase of my life,” she said.

Meeker will be replaced by Scituate resident Jessi Finnie, the current director of the Whitman Public Library. Finnie will come on board at the beginning of December to help with the transition.

Meeker, a resident of Duxbury, has had quite a legacy with Scituate Town Library, acting first as an assistant director for the library for the first year in the town, then transitioning into director the year following.

During that time, the most rewarding aspect of the job has been being a part of the community, Meeker said.

“This is a real library-oriented community, and it’s been a pleasure and an honor to work here and provide library service for the people here,” Meeker said.

Meeker has seen large transitions during her tenure. Perhaps the greatest, and the one she is proudest of, was transition the library into automation.

“There were a couple computers here when I started, but we transitioned to the online system while I was here, and that was huge to open all our libraries up to each other and create this fabulous system where we share materials,” Meeker said. “It was not so much a huge accomplishment as a huge leap forward in the world of libraries and the service they could provide.”

While Meeker has many accomplishments stacked in her past, the latest challenge – raising $5 million for a $12 million expansion and renovation of the aging building – will be left to someone else.

“I know that I no longer have the energy to see that project through,” Meeker said. “In some respects, I wish I was five years younger. But I’m excited to think it’s come as far as it has under my direction and to turn it over to someone who will have the energy and drive is exciting to me.”

Meeker said she plans to provide whatever guidance she could as the new director takes on the responsibility of spearheading the project, and trusts that things will go smoothly without her presence.

With the final days at the library waning, Meeker said she already had plans for retirement, among them visiting her two children and six grandchildren in Virginia.

“We want to spend more time doing that, traveling, getting our house in order, making plans for that next phase. I’d like to spend some time reading,” she added with a chuckle.

Meeker said she now will be getting to know the library in her hometown of Duxbury, but that she planned to stop by Scituate every once and awhile, if only to say hello.

For those that work with Meeker, the departure will be bittersweet.

“We’re obviously going to miss her tremendously,” said Mary Ellen Gaziano, a Scituate library trustee. “Her enthusiasm and her devotion is unprecedented. She is well loved by the community, staff, trustees, friends, foundation, she works with so many people in town that everyone enjoys working with her.

“On the other side, we all wish her the best and are excited for her and the next chapter in her life,” she said.

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