Library director’s retirement reception set for Dec. 11
By Amanda Borden, Associate Director
True confession: 24 years ago, I was a very young, unexcited 21-year-old graduate student in the School of Library and Information Science at the University of Alabama. I was there because I loved books and people, but the majority of what I was learning was, frankly, boring.
That was, until one of our classes invited a panel of real-life librarians to talk about their jobs. When the public librarian spoke, everything I thought I knew about libraries changed and I knew then and there that I wanted to work at her library. It was the exact opposite of boring.
Of course, that public librarian was the renowned director of the Hoover Public Library, Linda Andrews. She spoke of a place that was not only a library, but a community hub and fine arts center. Hers was a philosophy of customer service that extended to everything she did, from purchasing the newest best sellers to offering interesting programs to hiring the right people.
Linda Andrews was appointed to be the first director of the Hoover Public Library in 1983. She started with a 4,000-square-foot library in River Oaks Shopping Village and a small collection of 5,000 books.
Under her leadership, the Hoover Library has grown to be an 85,000-square-foot facility, with a café, business library, state-of-the-art theater, technology hub, booming children’s programs and nearly 300,000 books, audiobooks, movies and music recordings.
Linda’s brainchild, the annual Southern Voices Festival, is known among writers as one of the premier author events in America. Nearly 600,000 people use the library annually, and we circulate around 1.4 million items each year.
In 2009, we were recognized as one of the best libraries in America by Library Journal. Last year, we received the Gold Standards Award from the Alabama Public Library Service, the highest attainable for a public library in our state.
And that’s just the beginning of Linda Andrews’ accomplishments.
Besides myself, Linda has literally inspired dozens of librarians to think creatively and pursue the profession. She’s charismatic, personable and charming. She loves nothing more than meeting people and sharing library stories, of which my favorites usually center on her encounters with famous authors. But most of all, she possesses the heart of a true public servant.
So, it should come as no surprise that when we started talking about her retirement party, her only request was that the public be invited.
We hope that you will join us to bid farewell to our beloved library director on Sunday, Dec. 11 from 3-5 p.m. on the Library Plaza.
There will be music, refreshments and most importantly, Linda Andrews herself. If you’re lucky, you may even get to hear one of her famous stories.
Amanda Borden is the associate director of the children’s department at the Hoover Public Library. Visit hooverlibrary.org for more information.