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Librarian’s already gotten her feet wet

Post Independent/Kelley Cox
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Ann Moore could be the quintessential librarian. Motherly, quiet and very well organized, as befits the new head librarian for Garfield County, Moore also has a well-developed sense of humor, much of it directed at herself.Moore came to the county position about a month ago when longtime director Jaci Spuhler left to take a job in Eagle.One story she likes to tell is about a near disaster at a large public library in Temple, Texas. Moore was overseeing a move from an older building into a larger renovated building next door. The day of the move the heavens opened up and the rains came down, in torrents. In fact, it rained so hard the sewer backed up into the old building not yet relieved of its books, and rain was pouring into the ground floor through the windows. Dressed in sweat pants, slogging through the gunk on the floor and out through the pouring rain, racing to get the books out of the old building and into the new one before they were ruined, Moore stopped at one point and laughed.Her staff thought she was crazy, but she explained.”When I interviewed (for the job) I was 20 pounds lighter and had on a beautiful dress. Now I’m in sweats and ankle deep in sewage,” she said.Moore’s humor, and an abiding faith, have carried her through more than 20 years as a librarian, and back and forth across the country. She’s put down roots in a few places but was born and grew up in Albuquerque, N.M. Her roots go deep there.Her grandmother, Annie Walsh, came to Albuquerque from Ireland and married in 1912 at the Church of the Immaculate Conception.”When she came out of the church all the bells were ringing. She thought it was because of her wedding. In fact, New Mexico had just been declared a state,” she said.On her father’s side of the family, she’s descended from “the founding father of Texas.”

Her great-great-grandfather was Capt. Bartlett Sims, who fought with Sam Houston against the Mexican general Santa Anna.After the Texans’ defeat at the Alamo, Sims’ wife, Missouri, “packed up her china and buried it under an old oak tree,” to keep it safe from the marauding Mexican soldiers, “then she fled with her children,” Moore said.After Santa Anna’s defeat, Missouri returned to her home and dug up her china.”I have a few of the pieces,” Moore said, pieces of history.Moore, who graduated from the University of New Mexico in 1969, found her true calling during a part-time job at the law library on campus.”I absolutely found my passion in life: library science,” she said.Upon graduation, Moore married, and thus began a life of moving with her Air Force officer husband to his various duty stations. With a son, Randy, and daughter, Jamie, in tow, the family called Fairbanks, Alaska; Sacramento, Calif.; and then Illinois home.When her husband retired form the military in the 1980s, the family settled in Texas, where her parents lived. Moore found time to go back to school and earn a masters degree in library science.Job opportunities took her to an elementary school, and public libraries in Marshall and Temple, Texas.librarian: see page 3librarian: from page 1

It was in Temple that she found herself awash in sewage.In 1994, Moore divorced her husband and looked for a change of place that took her to a job in Paducah, Ky. Two years later, again looking for further learning opportunities, she took a job in Mount Vernon, Wash., north of Seattle.”There were a lot of challenges,” with the job, Moore said. The aging library was gutted and completely renovated.”We did a lot of work ourselves,” she said.During the eight years she lived there, her father died and her mother came to live with her.”I was very happy there. We did great things (at the library),” she said.But the last two years there turned into nightmare. Her mother went into severe Alzheimer’s disease and Moore could no longer keep her at home. After a series of difficult experiences with her mother wandering away from assisted living homes, Moore managed to place her in a nursing home, where she died in 2004.Once again, it was time to strike out for a new place.Moore decided to go back to her roots in New Mexico and accepted a job as the development director of the state library system. A far cry from her previous jobs in city libraries, this one was oriented to consulting services to the state’s libraries, including education, technology, building development and grant writing.After a year Moore found herself eager to get back to a hands-on job.



“I learned a lot, but I was longing to be back in a library,” she said.Again the resumes went out, and after interviewing for the Garfield County position she knew it was right.”I felt this was where I was supposed to be,” she said.Now Moore lives in a house just up the street from the main county library in New Castle. She is acquainting herself with the board of trustees and the staff of the six county libraries. And she is looking forward to the future.”We have a lot of goals and objectives,” she said.Moore has also brought with her a philosophy for public libraries. Within her passion for libraries, Moore has couched an equal enthusiasm for what she calls the “just say yes” approach to customer service.”It’s taking it an extra step further,” she said, to figure out ways to accommodate patrons while staying within library policy.”We have that box of policy, but we also have a lot of flexibility within it,” she said.Contact Donna Gray: 945-8515, ext. 510dgray@postindependent.com


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