Montpelier Library Welcomes New Director Connie Cunningham

CunninghamBy: James Pruitt
THE VILLAGE REPORTER

Connie Cunningham always wanted to own a bookstore or work in a library. Now as the new director at the Montpelier Library she has the best of both worlds.

Cunningham has been named as the replacement for Librarian Gloria Osburn who is retiring after 14 years. Osburn said he wants to spend more time with her grandchildren. She said the Board of Trustees made a great choice in hiring Cunningham.

While she is handing her “baby” over to someone else, she is not scared at all, Osburn said.

“Connie is so personable,” Osburn said. “She just fit it right with the craziness here. I think she is going to do a good job.

“She will be a wonderful asset to the community.”

Cunningham has worked at the library since April and brings many years of experience as an educator, mother, and grandmother to the job.

Her and her husband farmed in southeast Ohio for close to 30 years near a small town called Waterford, which is close to Marietta. During that time Cunningham was a high school teacher and raised four children and was the 4-H educator for Washington County for about three years.

After her kids had grown up and left home, she and her husband moved to Iowa where he became a crop manager for 10,000 acres of a 26,000-acre operation.

“We loved it there, but when we lived there we had zero grandchildren,” Cunningham said. “All of a sudden we had grandchildren and my husband is now the farm manager for Bridgewater Dairy.”

That was two years ago, and it brought the couple back to the Buckeye State, because as Cunningham puts it, “We are die-hard Buckeyes.”

As for her background, Cunningham is a high school teacher by trade and while in Iowa worked for Iowa State University as a state 4-H youth program specialist. That involved supervising six counties of 4-H groups, she said.

She has an extensive background in education with two master’s degrees (Education and Liberal {Arts} Learning with an emphasis in history), programming, supervising employees and dealing with budgets, she said.

An avid reader, Cunningham believes libraries are a part of the education world. Working in one is a natural fit for her.

“I have always had a love for books from the time I was old enough to hold a book,” Cunningham said. “I have spent years guiding people in research, students,”

Cunningham said. “I can bring that to the library as well, helping to guide patrons if they have research as well.”

Even with only a few months on the job, she has gotten to known the clientele to suggest books and movies for them, Cunningham said.

She and a niece developed a history elective about viewing history through media. Students had to take the information from the movie and research what was fact and what was fiction, she said.

“I can also guide people through the movie world as well,” Cunningham said. “That’s fun for me.

“This is an opportunity for me to utilize my skills and serve the community of Montpelier – of which I have become a part. I have a passion for doing that; I have a passion for people.”

Getting to know the people of Montpelier and those who use the library has been a joy for Cunningham. Her philosophy is to “serve them all and serve them well.”

She likens the library to a safe haven and to that end she is thinking about programming changes and adding new partnerships to the ones already established.

“I am also available for public speaking if any civic organizations want to know more about the services we offer,” Cunningham said. “Maybe how they can help.”

James Pruitt may be reached at
publisher@thevillagereporter.com

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