In an announcement that came as quite a surprise, Van Etten Library Director Michelle Erickson let the public know in December that she was leaving Van Etten for a new position.
The longtime librarian in the Big Flats library of Chemung County Library District (CCLD), retired, and Erickson was promoted to replace her. That position is full-time, in contrast to the part-time, three-days-per-week job in Van Etten. It will mean less driving for Erickson and a boost to her career, but it is a sad event for those who have come to depend on her cheerful, energetic and helpful presence in the Van Etten library.
Erickson came to Van Etten Library in August of 2014, so she gave the community of Van Etten five and a half years of service.
Erickson’s replacement, Melissa Neufer, is not new to the CCLD. She worked at Steele Memorial Library for two-and-a-half years before moving away for a time. When she returned to the area, she was assigned to work in the Horseheads library, which is where she has been until her assignment to Van Etten.
Neufer is a native of this area, having grown up in Elmira. She is a graduate of Southside High School, now Elmira High School, and reports that she has been “a big reader my whole life.”
Neufer takes over at a time of transition for the library in other ways as well. Van Etten Library has just recently moved into the new Van Etten Town office building, the former village municipal building opposite the Dandy. It is mostly settled in, with books on the shelves and the organization of areas, but Neufer has some ideas of her own for decorating and improving the children’s area. “Michelle started something really great here,” said Neufer. “She made a big impact on the community, and I want to continue that, plus add some programs. I want to put my own touch on the library, when I get to know it better.”
All of the current library programs and services will continue without interruption, despite the change in leadership. There will still be a monthly craft time, a movie, inter-library loans, the book club, and a monthly Monday Tablet Talk for help with various devices. Neufer hopes to introduce a new monthly themed event when she has settled in more fully.
This month’s Book Club read is “One Second After,” by William R. Forstchen. The novel deals with an unexpected electromagnetic pulse attack on the United States as it affects the people living in and around the small American town of Black Mountain, NC. The Book Club meets on Jan. 31 at 12:15 p.m. at the library, and all are welcome to participate.
“It was quite a surprise,” said Neufer, “the timing, that is—[being assigned here] right after the big move. But, so far it’s going well. Everyone is really nice in this community.”
The public is welcome to drop in and meet Neufer and see the library’s new location if they haven’t already done so.
Van Etten Library is open Monday, 1 to 5 p.m., Wednesday, 1 to 7 p.m., and Friday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. It is closed Saturday, Sunday, Tuesday, and Thursday.
For additional information or to get a copy of this month’s Book Club read, call Neufer at (607) 589-4755.