Preble County says ‘goodbye’ to library director

By Megan Kennedy

July 22, 2014

EATON — The Preble County District Library will soon be losing someone important to the library, Director Abby Noland, whose final day at the organization is this Friday, July 25.

Noland, who is transferring her talents to Rutland, Vermont as the Director of the Rutland Free Library, has been with the library just short of nine years. The Rutland Free Library, though sporting a smaller staff, is anticipated to be a welcoming, experience, according to Noland, but she will never forget her time here in Preble County.

“I should say that because I fell in love with the people here, and that rural, kind of… everybody waves kind of thing; that’s kind of what I was looking for,” said Noland.

Sunday, July 20, a going away party was held for Noland in Eldorado, proving to be a difficult opportunity for a journalist to interview her. Multiple friends, family, co-workers, loved ones, and anyone in between came to the open house to express their love, appreciation, happiness, gratefulness, and other emotions that surfaced throughout the afternoon. Attempting to sit down for an interview, Noland was constantly interrupted, in good spirits, by everyone in attendance.

Noland has affected so many people in Preble County and these were some of their final moments together.

“We work as a team. My administrative team that’s department heads, branch heads, people who have specialized information … it’s a brain trust. You throw an idea out there and we bounce it around like a beach ball and see what sticks and what really works,” said Noland. “Honestly, they’re very intelligent people, very creative people.”

Originally from Buffalo, New York, and growing up in Cleveland, Noland, made the decision to come to Preble County in 2006 after turning down a job in the busy city of Chicago. Not once has she regretted her decision.

“I’ve always wanted to do a rural library because they’re more challenging,” said Noland. Funding, resources, distances, collaboration, less of a population base if the area is spread out, and “you have to have a staff that can flip different hats on and off readily” pose as various obstacles for the administration, according to Noland. “Rural librarians basically multi-task and they can practically do anything, and they have to … they’re much more creative people.

“Overall, I think the people here are really great. Everybody knows everybody … Once you cross that Preble County line,” Noland said the mood instantly changes once you’re in the county’s boundaries. “If your car breaks down, it’s not just one person that stops, everyone stops! You never have to worry around here,” said Noland.

In regard to similar hospitality in Rutland, Noland said, “they’ve already shown it.”

The library is located in the former Rutland Courthouse in downtown Rutland, “It’s 14 hours away if you stop to pee, 12 if you don’t,” joked Noland.

The Ben and Jerry’s Ice cream headquarters is an hour and a half away from Noland’s new work place, a location she plans on visiting frequently.

“Because we have so many branches, I’ve had the opportunity to work with a lot of village trustees, and mayors, and city council people. I’ve had the opportunity to have friends from all these different branches, and to meet people with passion for their jobs … We’re working to not duplicate services, we’re enhancing one another. That’s what makes it fly. That’s what makes a community.”