New director's goal is to make library a 'Baldwin destination'
Jenny Worley envisions the Baldwin Borough Public Library as someday being the prime destination for people looking for something to do in the area.
Coffee or tea will be offered to those looking to simply hang out, and new programs will be offered to entice people to come inside.
“I like to try new stuff,” Worley said. “I like programs where it's like ‘Come and learn how to raise chickens' or ‘beekeeping,' things like that.”
Worley even envisions a program based around the popular Internet pinning board Pinterest, where library patrons are invited to try creating crafts or food products each month found on the site.
“It's like, ‘Make your own soap,'” said Worley, 34.
The new Baldwin Borough library director, who started Sept. 16, is brainstorming ways to get more people into the library, which is nestled in the rear of a rented space in the Wallace School building on Macek Drive. She takes over after Joyce Chiappetta retired last month after six years.
In 2013, the Baldwin Borough public library averaged about 5,300 patrons a month who visited for programs or to check out books, with the highest visitation occurring in the summer, Worley said.
The Moon Township resident graduated from the University of Houston in 2001 with a bachelor's in English and a minor in woman's studies and attended the University of Texas at Austin, where she received her master's in library studies in 2004.
“I had no idea what I wanted to be,” Worley said.
She always liked libraries.
When she was in elementary school, her school librarian showed her classmates all the “sad books” — the ones that needed some care. Worley said she felt bad for the books and those were her favorites.
“I really like helping people and in the library you can help people in so many ways,” Worley said.“There aren't many places where you can do that anymore without asking people for something in return.”
After graduation, Worley and her future husband, Mark, moved to Pittsburgh so that he could attend the University of Pittsburgh School of Law.
Worley got a job at the Heinz History Center, where she worked as an administrative assistant for about four years.
Once Mark graduated from law school, the couple moved to Harrisburg. She worked as circulation coordinator in the Dauphin County library system for four years.
The couple moved back to Pittsburgh last year and Worley took a part-time job at the Shaler North Hills library. She worked there in various roles, including the adult and children's services areas, for the last year.
Worley knew nothing about the South Hills when she applied for the director job in Baldwin.
“It's a very strong community,” Worley said. “People feel very strongly about where they live.”
Baldwin library board members selected Worley from more than 20 applicants, board President Jim Hamel said.
They sought a leader who would help the library continue to become a community center, and serve as a place where people can get help with technology needs. They also wanted someone who would oversee the start of a Friends of the Library group, Hamel has said.
“She's young and vibrant and has great ideas,” said Marie Jackson, adult services librarian at Shaler North Hills library who worked with Worley.
Worley helped implement technology programs and develop marketing at Shaler North Hills.
“She is phenomenal. She's brilliant,” said Sharon McRae, director of the Shaler North Hills library. “Just a real people person and yet you know she knows her stuff when you talk to her.”
Worley said she plans to meet with a variety of people and organizations in Baldwin Borough and as plans continue for a possible new facility for the library, she will be the cheerleader for that, as well.
“I want the library to be a Baldwin destination,” Worley said. “My whole vision is for people in this community, when they're looking for things to do, they say, ‘Let's go to the library.”
Stephanie Hacke is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-388-5818 or firstname.lastname@example.org.