Interview With Callaway County Library District Board President Mary Fennel

Callaway County Library District Board President Mary Fennel

Each trustee serves on his own district board as well as on the regional library board, which is the governing body responsible for policy-making and fiscal oversight. A contract binds our three member library districts into a regional system, allowing us to pool the resources of our whole region to give residents better service at lower cost.

Though enjoying her second career as a student financial services officer at William Woods University, Mary Fennel couldn’t stay away from her first love. When this retired Fulton Public Schools librarian saw an opening on the library board, she jumped at the chance. Mary and her husband Rick have two daughters and four grandchildren, ranging in age from 6 to 14 years old. She’s passed on her reading passion to her family and is proud to say that her grandchildren are bona fide book lovers.

Why do you think libraries are important?
I can’t imagine our world without access to public libraries! They provide such wondrous opportunities for learning, enjoyment, exploration and inspiration for preschoolers, senior citizens and all those in between. Utilizing the wide range of services, both at the facilities and online, is such a great privilege in our country. Everyone can and should take advantage of this. It is never too late to walk through that library entrance!

What is the role of the district president as you see it?
As district president, my main duties are to oversee our meetings, listen to and lead the other Callaway trustees when making decisions on behalf of our patrons, and to work closely with Director Melissa Carr and her wonderful staff. Most importantly, I am to be an advocate for the Callaway County Public Library, singing the praises of the multitude of services our library offers!

I am very much enjoying the privilege of representing Callaway County as a DBRL trustee. I have learned so much about the operation of our library system and have met people I never would have known otherwise. I love books and I love our library!

What are you most proud of regarding the Daniel Boone Regional Library?
I am most proud of the way our regional library district has worked above and beyond to keep the library system relevant and current with the times. This involves being fiscally responsible. Despite the downturn in our economy, which has lead to a number of public library closings across the country, we are in excellent financial shape due to the combined efforts in planning and preparing for the future by the DBRL staff and the board of trustees.

What challenges does DBRL face in the coming year or years?
Space, space and more space! 

Do you have a favorite memory or story about libraries from your youth?
I attended a one-room school house in a small western Minnesota town from grades 3 to 8. One of my fondest memories was when I was asked to straighten and organize our library, an assortment of books in one portion of a storeroom. I was in heaven!

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