Libraries have been an integral part of Green Bank native Marilyn Creager’s life since she was a young girl. She volunteered at public and school libraries and always found comfort studying and reading among the stacks of books.
So it seems fitting that on September 2, Creager became the librarian at Linwood Community Library.
“I’m working right now to get my master’s in library science, so I wanted to be a librarian,” she said. “I graduated in December with an English degree, and I also minored in history, so speaking with my history professors, I decided I wanted to go into archives and records management, which is a branch of library science.”
After graduating from Shepherd University, Creager served as an AmeriCorps at the Pocahontas County Opera House, but when the COVID-19 pandemic forced the facility to close, Creager felt she could better serve the county in another fashion.
“It basically had to shut down for the time being,” she said. “There’s some things I could have dug up to do, but I didn’t think I was the most useful there. So, I just happened to fall upon this job. It just felt like fate. I thought, ‘I just have to take it because when am I ever going to get another opportunity like that?’ Especially close to home with wonderful co-workers and wonderful bosses.”
Creager originally planned to attend college in Boston, Massachusetts, but decided instead to attend classes online and get a job while staying at home.
“I decided to stay because it’s safer here, and I know people here,” she said. “So far, it’s been good.”
With the continued pandemic precautions, the libraries are observing new rules that will keep patrons and employees safe but, at the same time, will provide the same great services public libraries have to offer.
“Right now, we have a limit in the space,” Creager said. “We’ve moved forward a little bit with our reopening plans in that we can only have five people in the space – including me – so me and four patrons, maximum.
“We’re also following appointment-based services, so you can call ahead and reserve thirty-minute time slots,” she continued. “We’re limiting visits to thirty minutes to make sure everyone can come in.”
Patrons are required to wear masks in the library and are asked to use hand sanitizer at the door before entering the facility.
The libraries are also taking precautions with the books, keeping them “quarantined” for three days after they are checked back in before returning them to the shelves.
“We were joking – ‘people don’t lick books’ – but we were like, ‘wait, people do lick their fingers to turn pages,’ so we’re just making sure,” Creager said, laughing. “We want to be cautious to protect our patrons.”
Those who do not feel comfortable coming into the library may utilize the curbside service. Patrons may call ahead, check out a book, and Creager said she will place it in a book cart outside the facility for the patrons to pick up at their leisure.
WiFi connectivity is also available in the parking lot, including a special West Virginia Kids Connect for students attending school virtually.
As revealed earlier, Creager has always loved libraries and has enjoyed working in them at various times throughout her life.
“I volunteered with my mom at the Green Bank Library when I was eleven to when I was in high school,” she said. “Sometimes it was on and off when I was in high school. I also volunteered at the high school library, helping librarian Susan Chappell. She was redoing the entire library, so I helped with that.
“I did my homework at the library in college because I loved it so much,” she continued. “I’ve always loved libraries. I feel like if you ask librarians, most of them will say ‘I’ve always loved libraries.’”
Naturally, Creager is also an avid reader, although college did put a damper on her hobby of reading for enjoyment due to the amount of required reading she had as an English major.
“After college, I suffered a lot from reader’s fatigue from reading so many books so quickly as an English major,” she said. “We were reading five or six novels a semester and that’s in each literature class I was in. I was so tired, that I waited five months after I got out of school, and I thought, ‘okay, I’m going to read again. What is grabbing my attention?’
“So I’m rereading young adult literature because it’s so much fun,” she continued. “It’s not any less good than regular novels, so I’ve been enjoying some fantasy things. I’ve been rereading the Ranger’s Apprentice series [by John Flanagan] which is really fun. I love young adult literature right now. I think it’s great.”
Creager also enjoys the writing of Isabel Allende, known for House of the Spirits, and David Sedaris, known for his humorous stories.
Because she is working while also attending graduate school, Creager said it may take her longer to finish her master’s, but she hopes to graduate in three or four years.
From there, she’s not sure, but she knows what sort of library science she hopes to make her career.
“I try not to think that far into the future, especially since I just started,” she said. “I do know that I would love to be an academic librarian or an archivist and since there are no academic libraries or archives here, it might be a little more difficult to remain in the county. For the time being, I love it here and it’s a very peaceful library.”
As a resident of Green Bank, Creager said she hopes to meet more members of her work community in Linwood and enjoys it when locals come in and use the facility, and visit.
“I’m hoping I can build some relationships,” she said. “I look forward to Friday every week because people come in from the Farmers Market. There’s so many happy people outside. It’s really nice. It can be very quiet in here, so I hope that people will come in, safely, of course.”
The Linwood Community Library is open Wednesday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Creager said it is best to call to make an appointment to visit the library due to the restrictions. Patrons may call 304-572-2665.