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Roddenbery Memorial Library has a new director at the helm, and she is a very familiar face in the community; she steered the library for about six months last year as acting director.
Janet Boudet will celebrate 31 years on the job at R.M.L. this spring, and on this anniversary she will be library director. “I am pleased that they chose me,” Boudet says of the decision.
The veteran librarian says she is seeking input from the community about what people want from the library, and she is hoping to increase the number of people who have library cards.
“Circulation and library visits decreased when we went into the renovation phase and have been slow to pick up. We have a beautiful building with increased usage space and programming capabilities,” Boudet states. “We have 8,500 active library card users, only about a third of the population of the county. At the very least, every child should have a library card. It’s free. We are working on going to events around the county to get people to sign up for a card.”
In addition to feedback, the new director says she also wants more local history including photographs of the community taken during the 1950s and 1960s, and histories of African American families and businesses from all eras.
Boudet says the library offers a variety of programs such as sewing, art, music and creative technology. She says they’re considering adding woodworking to the list of classes.
“Libraries are a place to create, as well as learn. My favorite days are when a variety of programs are going on and it is busy. I love hearing patrons talking to one another, catching up on their lives by a chance meeting at the library,” she relates.
Boudet says she is closely following the State Library’s investigation into the impact of fines on library usage. She says, “The library in Columbus, Georgia, has gone totally fines free. I am looking at the idea of making all children’s materials available without incurring fines. Children need to have access to books if we are to make readers out of them. Too often, books are returned late and the parents cannot afford to pay the fines. They stop coming to the library.” That is the opposite of Boudet’s focus for the library.
“We have a small, but great staff. We love our patrons and want more of them! Pick up the phone and give us a call, or better yet, come on in. We are here to serve and help in any way we can,” she says.
Boudet started working at R.M.L. in 1989 as a public services librarian. She was soon named assistant director to former director Dave Eden. She served as interim director for about five months when Eden left in 1992 until Alan Kaye was hired as director in July of that year. When Kaye left in 2010, the library’s Board of Trustees hired Pam Grigg as director, a position she held until May 2019 when Boudet was again named interim director.
Boudet has a bachelor’s degree in child development and a masters in library science, both from Florida State University.
She and her late husband, Scott, are the parents of two adult daughters.