I spent 11 years working for Dun & Bradstreet. After two years of selling reference products to the Financial Markets, I was promoted to Library Markets Manager. At first, I thought that this market would be boring, but after attending my first library conference, I fell in love with the customers and the marketplace. Librarians are special people. They care about their patrons, students and their libraries. They are passionate about having the right products to serve their patrons.
Around the time I became the library sales manager, my town had proposed building a library in the empty lot behind our home. My wife and I were in favor of this, instead of some retail establishment. There was a great debate in town because of the cost. I attended a town council meeting in support of the new library and I expressed my feelings to the Mayor and Council. A couple of weeks later, the Mayor contacted me and asked me if I would join the Library Board of Trustees. I was thrilled. The next town council meeting the Mayor announced my appointment. I had never served on a board before.
The day of my first board meeting arrived. I dressed up in a suit and tie. I was very excited. I was nervous sitting at this long table with strangers. The president of the board introduced me and I told the members of my background. I explained that I was the library sales manager at D&B. The library director liked me right away. During the meeting I was asked to chair the buildings and grounds. I was honored. At this point the library was housed in a former Revolutionary War tavern. Little did I know the issues with the building I was going to have to deal with.
A few weeks after that meeting, the Library Director called me at work, and told me that there was a raccoon in the ceiling. My very first challenge!!! After work, I met the director and climbed up into the ceiling to chase the raccoon out. We ended up calling the animal warden. So this is what being a board member was all about. I loved it!!!
Several years later, I became President of the board. I was also appointed to the New Jersey Library Board of Trustees.
My career in working with libraries continued. I was asked by librarians to sit on committees at the American Libraries Association and the Special Libraries Association. At one point, I chaired one of the membership committees. Librarians did not think of me as a vendor, but as one of them. I had built some great relationships.
I ended up working in the library industry for 22 years as a sales person, manager and product director. I miss it. I miss the customers and I miss seeing the libraries across the country. I have stayed attached the Bernardsville Public Library by being a member of the Friends of the Bernardsville Library Board. Someday, I will be back.
Oh, and the new Bernardsville Library was built. It just celebrated its 11th anniversary.