Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Library manager retires

Snyder helped bring learning to diverse immigrant population

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Leadership at the Gaithersburg Library is changing as Lillian Snyder, manager of the Gaithersburg Library was one of four county library managers to take the early retirement incentive plan offered to county employees.

She is one of 152 county workers who took the $25,000 buyout, including 21 Montgomery County Public Library employees. About 60 of the county positions will be abolished. In addition to Snyder, branch managers taking the incentive are Joan Deacon, of the library at the Montgomery County Correctional Facility in Boyds; Maria Pedak-Kari of the Germantown Library; and Keith Fleeman, of the Little Falls Library in Bethesda. The county does not have a timeline for hiring new managers.

Snyder, a Silver Spring resident, retired from her post as library manager, a position she’s held for 13 years. She transferred there from the Germantown Library and throughout her 29-year career has worked at various county libraries including Rockville, Aspen Hill and Longbranch.

‘‘It’s not the profession that I started out in by any means,” she said. ‘‘Libraries are not quiet anymore, they breathe life. The technology is moving faster than we can possibly keep up with it.”

Snyder said she has done her best to meet the needs of Gaithersburg’s growing and changing population. When she started, the city had a large Russian population that has since moved to White Oak, then Rockville, she said. More recently, the library has served the largest Hispanic community in the county, alongside a multitude of ethnicities, including a recent influx of French Africans.

‘‘Many of the people in Gaithersburg come from countries that did not have libraries or where libraries were for the privileged and government wasn’t a good place to go,” she said Monday. ‘‘We work very hard at making people comfortable here and letting them know that we’re here to help them.”

Reaching the community has demanded partnerships with Gaithersburg and Montgomery Village officials and other organizations, she said. Such partnerships have helped make the library ‘‘a gateway to social services,” with opportunities from computer classes to English conversation clubs.

Children’s librarian Jan Derry called Snyder a ‘‘very supportive” boss,” championing efforts such as the Family Environmental Fair in May.

‘‘She certainly taught me a lot about public service and about managing events on the scale that they happen here in Gaithersburg, because they happen on such a large scale,” said Derry. ‘‘That was an eye opener for me.”

As for so-called retirement, Snyder will volunteer with conversation clubs and consult to the library on special projects. She will work on her travel business that plans ‘‘girlfriend getaways” and spend more time with her three children and three grandchildren.

‘‘Whatever I get myself into,” the 69-year-old said. ‘‘Because I’m not going to sit around and do nothing.”