- Associated Press - Monday, May 12, 2014

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aware of our collection, because we have the capability now to see how often things circulate and whether they are out of date,” Kanady said.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

Regional Library Director William McMullin described Kanady as a dedicated and inspiring individual.

Cathy has been a generous branch supervisor who will go the extra mile and spend extra time with branch librarians to help them present their libraries to the best effect,” he said. “She has participated in many hours of training that helped propel the library into automation in 1999. Her expertise in grant writing has been very important to the Northeast Regional Library.”

Kanady said she will miss working with the regional and branch staffs. She’s going to be busy packing up her Corinth home and getting ready to return to Ocean Springs.

In addition to spending time with her hometown family and friends, she looks forward to doing some travel. She would like to revisit the West, where she enjoyed camping in the past. The mild coastal weather also offers opportunities.

“You can go out and camp on the islands sometimes even in December,” said Kanady.

The avid reader will have time to consume more books - historical detective novelist Anne Perry is her favorite - and pursue interests such as gardening and photography. She is a past volunteer with the local humane society and may do the same on the coast, where Kanady hopes to settle into retirement with a new pet or two.

“Everybody tells me I will love this,” she said, “so I hope they’re right.”


Information from: The Daily Corinthian.

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