Kanady reflects on 28-year career

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CORINTH, Miss. (AP) - As assistant director for the Northeast Regional Library, Cathy Kanady was always looking to the next page.

When she came to the four-county library system in 1986, her duties included technology coordinator along with the usual tasks of the assistant director.

“It has evolved and people have changed,” Kanady said, reflecting on her 28 years with the local system.

“People have adapted. We had librarians terrified of putting their hands on a keyboard, and eventually they learned. They learned that it was helpful technology.”

The Ocean Springs native spent her last day on the job Wednesday. She has been working the past month with her successor, Dee Hare, to help with the transition.

Hare comes to the regional offices in Corinth from the George E. Allen Library in Booneville, where she was head librarian for the past 12 years.

Kanady’s interest in the world of books goes back to high school, when she worked in the school library. She earned a master’s degree in library science at Louisiana State University and, after working for the library of the Gulf Coast Research Laboratory and about a dozen years with the Ocean Springs Public Library, she came to Corinth for the opportunity to expand her scope beyond branch librarian.

Kanady first worked for the local system in the role of extension librarian.

“I left here after a few years and went back to the coast and was assistant director at the Hancock County Library System in Bay St. Louis,” said Kanady. “Then I thought, ‘Well, I kind of miss the bigger scene of the four counties up here, so I moved back.”

She became assistant director, working closely with the librarians at each of the 13 branches of the four counties. At that time, technology had not yet begun to transform library systems.

“It was all books and maybe some videos and the ‘real’ card catalog,” she said.

With computers and the Internet, the library’s role evolved.

“Librarians have to know how to help someone on the computer as well as finding a book or some information. We’ve learned how to do better research than just going to Google, and we make people aware that they need to verify what they have found on the Internet. It’s not going to always be accurate or timely.

“It’s also made us more aware of our collection, because we have the capability now to see how often things circulate and whether they are out of date,” Kanady said.

One of the biggest technology projects was getting the automation system running. Just this week, she oversaw another upgrade as the library’s Internet service changed from T-1 to fiber. Providing e-books is one of the advances she sees in the library’s future.

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