Deborah Moore of Austin has accepted the position of Lonoke/Prairie County Library System director. Moore replaced former director Leroy Gattin, who retired after 40 years of experience in library systems.
As a Cabot High School graduate, Moore has always called Lonoke County her home. She was raised in unincorporated community of Sylvania, located on Arkansas Highway 321.
“My roots are right in the middle of dairy country, right here in Lonoke County,” Moore said.
Following high school, Moore attended the University of Central Arkansas where she received a business and social studies degree. While teaching in the early 1980s, she said decided to leave teaching to go into business with her husband, James Moore. Their home construction company, Moore and Moore Development has now been in business in 30 years. The couple has three children; Stephen, 31; Keith, 31; and Sarah Rodrick, 29. They also have one grandchild Cassie Moore, 10.
According to Moore, she still continued to seek additional education, even after receiving her teaching degree.
“My parents always believed if you had a good education, you can do anything you want,” Moore said. “It’s the key to be successful.”
With a appetite for knowledge, Moore said she always had a connection with libraries and books.
“As a child, I remember my mom always took us to the library,” Moore said. “We were limited in TV to one house, so we read for relaxation and pleasure.”
Moore has served on the Lonoke/Prairie County Regional Library Board for nine years. She said she knew the basic working of the library and was always interested in them. Following the retirement of Gattin, she said decided to make another career change and applied for the position.
“I was lucky enough to be chosen for this position,” Moore said. “But you are only as good as your staff, and I have a wonderful staff.”
As for the eight libraries under the regional library system, including Carlisle, Cabot, Lonoke, England, Ward, Hazen, Des Arc and DeValls Bluff public libraries, Moore said there are a number of changes happening in the libraries as well as plans for the future of the libraries.
“We are in the middle of a technology evolution,” Moore said.
In keeping up with technology, Moore said the library system has joined the overdrive system, which allows digital copies of books to be checked out online. She said they are also in the process of replacing desktop computers in the Carlisle, England, Ward and Lonoke libraries. Moore said the new computers will be installed, up and running Friday.
“Most libraries are bursting at the seams, with no or little room left,” Moore said.
As for the lack of space in the libraries, Moore said they are addressing the issue by cleaning out some books, rearranging shelving and adding additional shelving. She said books that are removed are given to other library systems, taken to the literacy council or made available for any children to have.
“We would like all children to have access to free books,” Moore said.
In addition to cleaning shelves and rearranging, Moore said there are a few construction projects.
Moore said one of the biggest upcoming project the library system will oversee in the next few years of the new Arlene Cherry Memorial Library in Cabot. The Cabot library houses 75 percent of the library system’s collection, according to Moore. Moore said the old Knight’s grocery building has been purchased from recent bond renewal funding for numerous projects including the new Cabot library. She said a multi-million dollar renovation is already underway. Moore said they will be starting from scratch and the asbestosis abatement was done two weeks ago. Architect for the project is Bob Schelle of Schelle Architect in Cabot. Moore said they will begin taking bids for the constriction in two weeks.
According to Moore, the new building will be be 23,000 square feet, a large increase from the current 8,000 square foot Cabot library. Some of the new building features will include an outdoor green space, four checkouts, cafe, coffee bar, lounge area, 23 stand-alone computers, 40 laptops, two class enclosed study areas for students, TV for gaming in the young adult section an increased genealogy section, and a large meeting room which Moore said would comfortably seat 40 people with tables and chairs. Moore said they chose the location because they wanted the new library to be readily accessible to all of Cabot.
With the Marjorie Walker McCrary Library in Lonoke being the second largest book collection Moore said it will also see some changes. Since renovating and moving into the old post office in 1998, Moore said the Lonoke library has had little to no major changes made. She said they will be revamping the children’s section, making it into the juvenile section for students in preschool through sixth grade. With new paint and a new open floor plan, Moore said they will then be able to grow the library’s children’s program. She said they plan to offer more interaction with parents who home school their children as well as improve other children’s programs such story and toddler time. Moore said she plans to hire a full time children’s director for the Lonoke library.
“We are trying to grow with the times,” Moore said. “We have many things to offer that most people are not aware of.”
Moore said the Des Arc Public Library will also be moving to a new location. She said the county has acquired the Presbyterian church, which will soon house the library. Moore said they plan to leave the church how it appeared 100 years ago with its stain glass windows, lighting and hard wood flooring. She said they also plan to showcase some of the oak tables, shelving and smaller pews that are original to the building. While the buildings large organ is also a historical piece, Moore said they will unfortunately be unable to use it because they need the space.
“We are very blessed to be able to pair with the county and move our library into the old Presbyterian church,” Moore said. “We are very excited to move”
As a personal goal, Moore said she plans to continue to work toward the growth of the library systems eight public libraries. She said he hopes to maintain her position for the next 10 years before she retires as the director.
“I hope to hand it off [when she retires] to someone who loves libraries as much as me,” Moore said.
For more information about your local library visit the website at www.lpregional.lib.ar.us.