It did not take Michele Lipson long to feel comfortable taking over as the new library director at the Plainedge Public Library. Lipson has been the library director since August, and says she has felt comfortable since the first day she stepped foot inside.
“The board made me feel comfortable,” Lipson said. “I knew that they had the best interests of this community at heart.”
Lipson, who grew up in Great Neck, has been involved in libraries since 1987. After being in Roslyn for 23 years, she felt it was time to do more.
“I had a larger vision,” Lipson said. “I loved being a librarian, but I knew I could make a difference being a director. Being a librarian is the best job ever, but I knew that there was more. I needed to go further.”
When Lipson got her start in libraries, she was in the children’s room, which meant she was always dealing with books and story hours. She did not plan on having a long-term career as a librarian, but the advances in technology changed her plans.
The introduction of computers to libraries in the 1980s changed the way people viewed them. Libraries used to be all about books, but with the addition of new technology, there are now a number of different reasons to utilize them. Lipson, who was the computer services librarian in Roslyn, said the library staff has been doing a lot of training in terms of technology, so they will be able to train the public.
“We’re teachers now,” Lipson said. “There is no doubt about that. We helped somebody recently. He didn’t have a computer or access to one, and he had to renew his passport. People come to the library, they trust libraries and we help them. Where else was he going to go that someone was going to sit with him and walk him through these steps?”
Although the way things are done in a library has changed with technology, Lipson said it has not changed what libraries are all about: namely, education, whether that is education from reading paper books eBooks or listening to an audiobook.
The Plainedge library offers a variety of things that pertain to everyone in the community, with events that range from exercise classes to craft programs for all ages.
Lipson’s vision as library director is to ensure the Plainedge library offers what the community is looking for.
“We are here to serve the community always,” Lipson said. “We’re open to hearing suggestions. Every public library should be what the community wants, which is why every public library is a little bit different. Because every community is a little bit different. We’d like to provide what Plainedge needs. That’s what I would like to see: for the community to take ownership and give feedback.”