New Director at Lane Library

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Lane Memorial Library Welcomes
Amanda Reynolds Cooper as New Director

By Liz Premo, Atlantic News Staff Writer

Atlantic News, Friday, August 8, 2008

[The following article is courtesy of Atlantic News]
SURROUNDED BY BOOKS -- Amanda Reynolds Cooper is feeling right at home as the new director of the Lane Memorial Library in Hampton.
[Atlantic News Photo by Liz Premo]

HAMPTON -- Amanda Reynolds Cooper was recently hired as the new director of the Lane Memorial Library, and one could say she approached the position like a reader eagerly opening the latest best-selling novel.

"You don't settle in," she says. "You dive in!"

Amanda, 30, came on board June 16, filling the lead position left open after Catherine Redden retired due to health concerns.

The former director of the Harvey Mitchell Memorial Library in Epping for the last four years, Amanda has also served as a librarian at Bowdoin College in Brunswick, ME. She currently lives in Raymond with her husband, Chris Cooper; the couple will be welcoming their first child this coming winter.

Amanda earned her Bachelors Degree in biology from Bates College in Lewiston, ME in 1999, and though her declared studies may have focused on the science of life, she discovered that her eventual career path would follow an entirely different type of science.

"I was working as a student assistant in the library" at Bates, she says. "When I graduated, I had more experience in library than in biology."

CHECK IT OUT -- Lane Memorial Library Director Amanda Reynolds Cooper assists a young patron checking out a book from Erin Hunter's "The Warriors: New Prophecy" series.
[Atlantic News Photo by Liz Premo]

And so it was that Amanda went on to pursue her Masters Degree in Library Science, earning it in 2004 through the two-year online program at Syracuse University. As the Lane Library's new director, she's putting that degree to good use.

"I'm enjoying myself," she says. "It's good work. When you get into it you see the benefits."

This isn't the first association that Amanda has had with Hampton's public library.

"Epping is part of the Seacoast Library Cooperative," she explains. Through that association between the two libraries, "I had an opportunity to meet Catherine on occasion. We usually kept each other updated." Amanda says she had heard of her predecessor's absence from the director's chair when the vacancy was announced as a "list serve."

She responded, and was hired as the library was regrouping after voters rejected in March a request for a new HVAC (heating, ventilation, air conditioning) system for the facility.

"We're coming up with a workable plan - looking at a more approachable plan," she says. "We're trying to make it affordable, and trying to make it reasonable." With plenty of initial input provided by Linda Sadlock and the Friends of the Lane Memorial Library, "we have lots of different suggestions to work with," Amanda says.

She adds that the overall HVAC effort "is still a work in progress. For every one piece that comes into place, there's another one [waiting]." There's also "a lot of building issues all stacked up and ready to solve as soon as possible," she adds. Most recently it was heads for the library's sprinkler system.

"We've got three companies coming through and looking at that," she says.

In spite of the important day-to-day business and administrative responsibilities she has to handle, Amanda is heartily up to any task, be it discussing sprinkler heads with the town's fire department, crunching the numbers for the library's budget, or simply helping a youngster check out a book downstairs in the Children's Room.

"It's not daunting," she says of her extensive job description. That relative ease could be in part due to her own personal upbringing. "My family is very public service-oriented," she explains. Her parents (mom worked at a military grocery store, dad at the post office) enjoyed "a lot of interaction with the public. It's just something that we all did." That collective "we" includes her sister, Brenda Reynolds.

"We both went to the Bates College Library; she never left," Amanda says with a grin. "She's the head of the audio-visual department." The library connection doesn't end at the sibling level, either.

"My husband is a librarian," says Amanda. "We dated in college; I got him a job at the library." Chris is currently the head of access services at the Shapiro Library at Southern New Hampshire University.

(A side note: Chris' father, Les Cooper of Exeter, was a teacher in Epping before transferring to Hampton Academy, where he taught until his retirement a number of years ago. Amanda smiles when she observes that she is "doing the Epping-to-Hampton Dad Tour," following in her father-in-law's footsteps from the former to the latter.)

Now that she has officially "dived" into her responsibilities as the director at the Lane Memorial Library, Amanda encourages the public to look her up when checking out the latest best-selling novel at the circulation desk.

"From back here I don't see the public," she says, sitting behind the desk in her office on the library's main floor. She extends an open invitation to all library patrons to look her up next time they visit.

"Face time with the public is wonderful," she says. "Please ask for me - I would love to talk to you."

Stop by, say "hi" and welcome Amanda Reynolds Cooper at the Lane Memorial Library, or give her a call at (603) 926-3368.

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