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With public funding in place, adult services librarian joins Skaneateles Library staff

With public funding in place, adult services librarian joins Skaneateles Library staff

Long Island native and Syracuse University graduate Deanna King is the Skaneateles Library's adult services librarian, a position created after school district voters approved public funding for the nearly 150-year-old library.

SKANEATELES — Five and a half months after Skaneateles Central School District voters approved public funding for the Skaneateles Library for the first time in the library's nearly 150-year-history, the library achieved the second of the two goals it had in mind with the taxpayer money.

Along with ideas to upgrade technology available at the library and expand its collection and programming, the library extended its hours in August to include evenings Monday through Thursday and being open on Sundays.

And on Halloween, the library's adult services librarian — a position created as a result of the funding — officially began her full-time duties after serving as a part-time clerk when the hours were extended.

Deanna King hails originally from Long Island, where she completed her undergraduate degree, and then lived in St. Louis where she worked for a museum before finding her way to Syracuse. She earned her master's degree in library and information science from Syracuse University's School of Information Studies, graduating in May.

At the time, King worked as a clerk at the Library Farm at the North Onondaga Public Library in Cicero when she was looking for a second job and saw the posting for a clerk at the Skaneateles Library.

Library Director Nickie Marquis said she had King in mind as a potential adult services librarian when she started working at the library in August.

The best part of her job so far, King said, is that it is a new position so she is working with a blank slate.

"That's part of the fun of it just because there are endless possibilities," she said. "We can do anything we can imagine and get together."

Starting this month, King is offering technology help sessions twice a week from 10 a.m. to noon Tuesdays and 5 to 7 p.m. Wednesdays to allow people to set up an appointment or just drop in to get help with their computers, mobile devices, the library's online catalog and other resources, and even social media platforms.

She also wants to expand the adult programming and is beginning with a craft for adults in which they can make a wreath out of pages from recycled books and other materials. Those sessions are slated to take place at 6 p.m. Monday, Dec. 12 and 1 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 13.

King noted a big part of her job — technology — represents the future of libraries, a major theme in her master's coursework as well.

"Libraries are so much more than books. It's beyond the book," she said. "Now we have apps through the library. We have Overdrive and Hoopla, which are great. I love teaching people about those because they're so convenient. You can have audio books on your phone. You can play them in the car when you're going on a trip. I listen to them on my way to work usually."

She said patrons can get library resources wherever they are and still be avid library users without even coming into the building. And since the Skaneateles Library is part of the Onondaga County Public Library system, it has access to more databases and resources than it would otherwise have.

In terms of the extended hours, Marquis said it is something she wanted to do since becoming library director in October 2012. She noted people get out of work at 5 p.m. when the library was closing, and children coming to the library after school only had a couple of hours to work there.

"People are so busy, and things don't always happen during banker's hours," she said. "Our No. 1 job is to help people and to be available for them as a resource in whatever way they need, whether it's information or just as a place to work or study or whatever."

The difference between obtaining public funding or continuing with an endowment and private donations meant doing more or doing less, and Marquis said it is exciting for the library to offer more to its patrons.

"I'd hate to say no. I'd hate to close the door or say, 'We can't get that,' and, 'We can't do what you need us to do,'" she said. "That's not our function. Our function is to serve the community. It was just difficult to do that the way that we were funded before."

Journal Editor Jonathan Monfiletto can be reached at jonathan.monfiletto@lee.net or (315) 283-1615. Follow him on Twitter @WOC_Monfiletto.

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