After a storied career spanning two decades as Plympton’s Library Director and a dozen years before that as a part-time worker at the circulation clerk, Debbie Batson is retiring at the end of the month.
“I’m a little nervous. It’s going to be a big change,” she said, “but it’s time”. Is she going to miss all that fun? “Being the director of a small town library you get to do everything … which is overwhelming but also fun. It’s different every day – there’s always something different you can do. People make it. The people make it good. They become friends.”
We see them all the time. When the little kids who came in for story time grow up and are bringing their kids in, “you know you’ve been here a long time. I will miss that.” Even though we live in a small town how often do we see each other? I will miss all the people. But after almost 20 years as director, and 12 years before that at the circulation desk, it’s time. There are some new faces in the library – relatively new – Chris Stratton from Kingston is at the circulation desk now since Kathy Keirstead retired, and Madelyn Pompei from Carver is in the children’s area. The library world has changed a lot in 32 years; things move a little faster. Somebody new will bring new energy and new ideas and I think that will be a good thing.”
What do you look forward to most? “Being able to get up and do whatever I want.” I won’t have to worry if the rain is coming in the library. It will be nice not to have the building as a concern.” They’ve had lots of critters in the library over the years – a squirrel for several weeks – nobody could catch it. Finally one day the animal control officer was in the library and threw a net over it and caught it. For a while every spring there would be birds. “We got so we were pretty good getting them out of here.” And then there were snakes in the cellar … “not my favorite,” she said.
Was it more stressful to operate a library in the height of the pandemic? “Probably no more stressful than moving the library – all the books, shelves, everything – over to the Town House while the new library construction was underway,” she said. School kids from Mrs. Bowden’s class, I think, took a day and made a line to pass books from one to the other all the way across to the Town House. “We spent a whole summer with the library in the Town House working out of boxes. Then we moved it all back. And once was enough of that! One pandemic, one moving a library,” she said.
“I couldn’t really imagine doing this when I started all those years ago at a part-time job, you know? I had no idea that I would end up being director of the library for 20 years! I truly did not.”
“I can’t believe how quickly it has all gone by. People always say that, but it’s true.”