By Hilary Corrigan
Triplicate staff writer
A semi-retired librarian who has worked in libraries across the nation for about 40 years has started a new chapter leading Del Norte County's.
"I guess I've been a librarian since I was in the first grade," said Russell Long, recalling the classroom book deposit that he tracked long before jobs in California, Nebraska and Florida libraries. "I'm 63 and I plan to work forever."
Long started work Thursday, taking the director position that Patty Hector held until she resigned late last year.
He knows the challenges.
The operates on about $200,000 each year, has limited its hours and cut programs. In recent years, voters have rejected propositions for a tax that would have provided the library with about $400,000 each year.
"Sometimes fresh eyes immediately seize upon opportunities," Long said.
The library needs to increase its income, he said. More money would let the facility stay open longer, hire a children's program leader, add more books and materials, host more music shows and lectures.
"The library should be a prime cultural center," he said.
Coming from South Lake Tahoe, Long with earn about $45,000 a year in the position.
"He's had just tons of experience," said acting director Kelley Nolan. "His knowledge base is probably better than anybody we've had."
Long has worked in the field as libraries have changed their cataloguing, circulation and loan procedures. Del Norte's library is now altering its systems.
"He already knows about those things," Nolan said.
Long sees the facility as a public service. Business owners seek information on marketing strategies, illiterate people seek help learning to read, others seek books for entertainment or computers for job searches.
"People come in here dressed in all kinds of ways, wanting all kinds of things, and the presumption is that they're going to get help," Long said. "A library is kind of sacred ground."
Meet Russell Long