New librarian of Magnolia Springs as of Feb. 1

By Allison Woodham / Allison@gulfcoastmedia.com
Posted 3/9/17

Melanie O’Donnell has worked with the Magnolia Springs Library for about five years, and earlier this year, the position of the librarian came open.

“I’ve been working with Alida (Given) …

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New librarian of Magnolia Springs as of Feb. 1

Posted

Melanie O’Donnell has worked with the Magnolia Springs Library for about five years, and earlier this year, the position of the librarian came open.

“I’ve been working with Alida (Given) for the last five years as one of the volunteers here,” O’Donnell explained. “It got so that she and I worked so closely together, almost like partners. We had a librarian who was here for a year and had to resign in December. The town posted for the job and I applied for it.”

O’Donnell said she already knew the small library, just not the “ins and outs.”

“She knows it all,” said Given, former librarian for Magnolia Springs.

O’Donnell credits Alida for mentoring her over the last few years, which allowed her to comfortable stepping in to this position.

“I couldn’t do this without her,” she said.

Given said the transition has been seamless.

“Without her having really been behind the scenes in the past, she’s done so much already,” she said. “It’s been great.”

O’Donnell, along with many volunteers, keep this library up and running.

“You couldn’t do this job without the volunteers; you can’t,” she explained. “It’s surprising how much you rely on having people here to help you just maintain the library. It’s more than one person, absolutely.”

O’Donnell is deaf, so a volunteer usually answers the phone.

“I’ve taught myself lip reading,” she said. “The volunteers answer the phone because it’s a stress on the person getting information from the library as well as me trying to help them, and I can’t understand what they’re saying. I was born normal, but it was a treatment for a childhood illness that caused me to go deaf.”

The town of Magnolia Springs now controls the library.

“Of course, now our town fully supports us, which is wonderful,” Alida said. “We always want them to know we really do appreciate them.”

O’Donnell has lived in Magnolia Springs for six years, after retiring from the federal government in West Virginia nine years ago.

Of course, with new leadership, there are some changes.

“It’s all mostly cosmetic,” O’Donnell said. “We’ve really been looking at more ways of storing larger collections of books, like our large print collection and DVD collection — trying to centralize it because we can only go so far. We’re tiny with a big heart.”

Given said O’Donnell has a real vision and big changes are coming.

United Bank has just donated money to the library, and O’Donnell has put in a new order of large print books.

O’Donnell also plans to transform the children’s room and get more bookshelves for them and fix up the nonfiction room.

The Magnolia Springs Library has children’s programs and summer programs. The library is also home to a Seed Lending Library, where patrons can come check out seeds, grow their vegetables or fruits — whatever they like — and bring seeds back from their plants.

On Tuesdays, the Knit Wits meet and on Thursday, the Stray Love Foundation brings in a cat or kitten to roam the library for the day for adoption. There are also monthly book clubs that meet and activities, like monthly card programs.

The Magnolia Springs Library also has a new sponsor, Piggly Wiggly, and are looking forward to their support.