DERRY — Everything anyone ever needed to know is found at this library.
That’s just how Cheryl Lynch likes it.
Lynch, director of Derry Public Library, will be retiring from her job this year. Her last day is June 2.
The decision was not an easy one to make, she said.
Lynch came to the library in 1989, first serving as a reference librarian. She eventually moved into an acting director role in 2000 and took the top job soon after.
“We were a 5,000-square-foot libarary then,” Lynch said. “They had just put up the steel for the new addition. There weren’t even phones on the desk.”
She said coming to Derry was a real culture shock after working in larger communities.
“In the first month I was here, I had around 10 reference questions,” she said.
The Derry library originally began in the Adams Memorial Building and moved farther down Broadway in 1906. The library served many people a century ago, Lynch said, including all the workers at the town’s shoe factories and other industries.
“They were rockin’ it back then,” she said. “They had 8,500 items when they moved (from Adams).”
When Interstate 93 opened, the library continued to grow. Technology changes almost daily and more people are relying on their community library for so much more than checking out books or reference materials.
The hunt is now on for Lynch’s replacement. It will be tough to fill her shoes, library officials say.
Library trustee Elizabeth Ives said Lynch is very humble.
“She is very shy about her achievements,” Ives said.
But those achievements include overseeing expansion work, technology upgrades and making sure the library serves the best purpose possible in the community. New plans will bring natural gas to the library to help save money on fuel.
But the true measure of a library, Lynch said, is the staff that is always there to help find whatever information is needed — a book, an audio book, an online resource, a special program or service.
“I like to think of the staff as guides,” Lynch said. “We will help you begin your journey here.”
She said the Derry library now does it all.
Children and their parents go to the lower level for story times and special activities. Adults find a quiet corner to read. Students can do their studying online or ask staff members a question about just about anything.
Derry Public Library now has more than 120,000 items, with thousands more available through a library consortium sharing program. There are also 16,717 cardholders.
Lynch credits the library’s trustees for being smart about spending and saving money when needed.
“And what worked 22 years ago is still working today,” she said. “People still feel good when they walk in the building.”
Lynch said she is looking forward to having “play time, me time.” She will miss the staff she’s worked with for so long.
“That was the hardest part of my decision, I will miss the connections to the community,” she said. “But like water, I’m finding a new pathway.”