Brattleboro Library Director Jerry Carbone says goodbye
Photo Gallery | Jerry Carbone retires
BRATTLEBORO — After serving as library director then interim library director until his replacement could start, it's official: Jerry Carbone is retired.
"I've enrolled in a course," he told the Reformer on Monday as he sent e-mails to library trustees and staff members reminding them to delete his e-mail address. "It starts tomorrow."
As Brooks Memorial Library's 13th library director, Carbone contributed to making the institution the largest public library in Southern Vermont. He also brought the 75,000-volume library into the digital age by making more things available on the computer; an online catalog was created along with electronic databases and eBooks for download.
Carbone retired after 37 years with the library on Dec. 18 and became the library's interim director until Jan. 15. He served as library director for 23 years.
Library visitors wondered why they were still seeing Carbone, not knowing he had taken on the role of interim director. But Starr LaTronica begins on Tuesday, Jan. 19. She comes from upstate New York with a wealth of experience. She served as a librarian, manager, administrator and consultant for the Four County Library System in Vestal, N.Y. Previously, she was senior librarian at Berkley Public Library in California.
"For the past 20 years I've been really focused on 42 libraries in four counties. As you can imagine, there's a lot of variety in the kinds of libraries I work in and a lot of varieties in those communities," said LaTronica. "I'm really looking forward to focusing on one library in one community and really concentrating my efforts into Brooks Memorial and Brattleboro."
Carbone begins a course on genealogical research at Boston University on Tuesday, Jan. 19. The subject caught his interest over the last few years.
"I'm going to be doing that for the next 15 weeks," he said. "It's all online so I won't have to travel to Boston."
Also, he plans to put some free time into writing. A couple of projects are lying around that he hopes to complete.
"I've got lots of interests. I don't think I'll be bored," he said.
Carbone said he will miss "a lot" about the library, including the community, staff, the Board of Trustees and the Friends of Brooks Memorial Library, with which he would meet monthly to discuss fundraising efforts.
"I've participated in a great team with the town of Brattleboro, all the department heads. Those people are great professionals," he said. "It's really been an honor to be serving with them."
But his involvement in the library isn't through just because he retired. He said he expects to find opportunities to volunteer and help with ongoing projects he may have started.
Offering programming based on what he learns during the genealogical classes is another possibility. He sees himself talking about the topic at the library or the Robert H. Gibson River Garden on Main Street, where Brown Bag Lunches are hosted by Strolling of the Heifers with presentations from a speaker.
"It's great to transmit knowledge to other people," Carbone said, remembering his days as reference librarian at Brooks Memorial.
That job brought him to Brooks Memorial in November 1978. He became director in 1993.
Carbone was awarded a three-year grant from the Freeman Foundation in 2001. The funding went towards updating the collections, installing new circulation desks, making upgrades to the facilities and cataloging historical and fine-arts works for the online catalog.
His collaborating with the Vermont Humanities Council brought the First Wednesday Lectures to Brattleboro. And he assisted in making the Brattleboro Literary Festival into a major event held each year.
In honor of his 30 years of service back in 2008, Carbone received the Sarah C. Hagar Award from the Vermont Library Association.
The nearly four decades at Brooks Memorial were "a great experience," said Carbone. "And I know it will continue under Starr (LaTronica) and the team she is going to be working with to provide the best library service to Brattleboro."
Two stories came to mind when Carbone was asked to recall memories he felt were representative of the community he served.
"We went through budget cuts a couple years ago. Some of the threats were to the library," he said. "People came out and supported us as they did other town departments. It was really gratifying to see how that support came through."
Then there was the retirement party, "a little gathering" at the library on Dec. 18.
"It was really great seeing people come out for that and say goodbye to me," he said.
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