Margaret Woodruff: a lifetime love of books

F-3-T-CP-Margaret-Woodruff-C-copyBy Phyl Newbeck

Fourteen years ago Margaret Woodruff moved to Charlotte, and during her first week in town she took her young children to the Charlotte Library. Two years later she decided to transition back into the working world by applying for a job as assistant to the Children’s Librarian. When the Children’s Librarian left, Woodruff was offered the job. While in that position, she received a Certificate of Librarianship through the Vermont Department of Libraries. Four years ago she was appointed director of the library.

Woodruff is pleased with the many changes that have taken place during her 12 years. “I feel there is something great that has happened in every department,” she said, “either by individuals or a collaborative effort.” Recently, the library was able to add additional hours for one of its employees; that woman is now the local history curator. “She had been in that role informally for years,” Woodruff said “but now she has designated time and space to do the work which has been a nice addition to our library offerings. Particularly in the summer we get a lot of people looking for that kind of information.”

Woodruff is also pleased that the library has been able to add a Tech Librarian who provides technical education for both staff and patrons. Recently the Tech Librarian worked with the Children’s Librarian to set up a Maker Club with an informal curriculum for students. A local employee of IBM has also helped out with technical expertise.

Woodruff praised the Charlotte community for their support of the library which has grown to a staff of eight, most of whom are part-time. She also praised the Board of Trustees and the Friends of the Library for their efforts. If Woodruff were to change one thing about the library, it would be to add space. “We’re a cozy library in every sense of the word,” she said. “We’re cozy in that we’re warm and welcoming but everything is packed together. We’ve got programs for children and for adults and we’re running out of space.”

Prior to coming to Charlotte, Woodruff worked in collections at the Peabody Essex Museum in Massachusetts and served as a museum consultant in Washington State. Upon moving to Vermont she organized children’s programming at the Fleming Museum. Although her background is in that area, Woodruff stresses that the Charlotte Library has offerings for all ages and promotes “life-long learning.”

Woodruff lauded the “great group of people” she works with, but said the best part of her job involves the public. “I love sharing the love of reading and books and ideas with people,” she said. “When you help someone find the right book or when you see a 7-year-old get joy from reading, it makes you happy,” she said. Although she presides over all facets of the library, Woodruff admits her strength lies with children’s programing. “I believe that’s where it starts,” she said. The library is part of the Department of Library’s early literacy program and Woodruff loves the way it introduces books and important concepts to children. “That helps you for the rest of your life,” she said.