Columbiana library director announces her retirement

By BRAD GASKINS / Staff Writer

COLUMBIANA – Columbiana Public Library Director Jane Bailey is retiring, ending 21 years of service to the county’s library system.

Her last day is Oct. 7.

“I think when you’re ready to retire, you just know (it’s time),” Bailey said Aug. 3. “It hit me this year.”

She worked for the Harrison Regional Library for four years and the Columbiana Library for 17 years, the last five as director.

“It’s been a long journey and a pleasant one,” Bailey said. “I’ve seen the children of the community grow up, and they’re now coming back into the library with their children. I’ve realized I’ve come full circle. I’ve seen a generation grow up.”

Bailey said she’s looking forward to spending time with her husband, James, and their three children and seven grandchildren. She said she’s also looking forward to knitting and tending to the couple’s honeybees and chickens.

“It’s going to be an exciting time,” she said. “It’s time for me to enjoy these next few years of my life, this next chapter.”

She said it’s nice to retire on a “high note,” a reference to the success of “One World, Many Stories,” Columbiana’s summer-long reading program.

Twenty-four programs were held June 2 to July 14, with 194 children signed up and an overall attendance of 1,049. Bailey estimated those children checked out 5,350 books throughout the summer.

“Our kids were busy this summer,” she said. “We want them to keep those reading skills.”

The city of Columbiana has already launched a search for Bailey’s successor and, according to its website, is accepting applications through Aug. 10. Minimum requirements are a four-year degree and “adequate” library administration experience.

“It’s going to take somebody energetic and committed to the community, who loves children, to fill this job,” Bailey said. “I think the Columbiana Library Board and the city council will do a great job choosing someone new, so that the library continues to be a bright spot.”