Cathy Lefevre is the library director at Sand Creek. The transformation she has managed to bring about in Sand Creek in the past 5 years, with the support and help of her community and her talented husband, has been astonishing! Read on, and get inspired.
What do you think are some of the most important steps in the winding path that has led you to become the library director at Sand Creek?
I was a voracious reader as a child, especially biographies and horse books. When I had pneumonia and had to stay in bed for 2 weeks--all I did was read. My mom got me a hard copy of Black Beauty and Little Women--it was heaven. Reading is still my favorite hobby. My mother was the librarian at my high school and my sister-in-law and niece are both children's librarians. I still read 5-7 books per week.
What do you love most about your job?
The autonomy: I really was able to make the space into a fully functioning library which was a great accomplishment. However I could not have done it without the support of my husband and the community.
What’s a great book you’ve read recently? Why do you think you liked it so much?
I like reading all kinds of books. My husband laughs about my “lowbrow reading." I also enjoy reading YA books so that I can recommend them to our younger readers. I just listened to The Minister's Daughter (which was listed as a junior audiobook but was definitely YA). It was a totally fun coming-of-age historical novel that had sex and princes and witch hunts and fairies in it. I just finished Anna Quindlen’s Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake. Anna and I are the same age and her book was a wonderful memoir of a woman coming-of-age in the 60’s and 70’s, but alas there no fairies in it.
What is something you are excited about—NOT at the library?
I volunteer at Sand Creek Arts and we have renovated the whole building where the library is housed. It is a great place now for the entire community. I also enjoy color pencil drawing, I have more than 100 different colors and it makes me happy to just look at them and even happier to put down to paper a drawing of a flower or bird (my favorites to draw.)
What is something you are proud of doing—AT the library?
The renovation made such a difference in the total feeling of the library—it is a joy to work in and visit. The fact that we did it all with donations of time and money meant that no one complained. I was so fortunate that my husband Bob donated his time with the cabinets and workstations.
Tell us about a favorite book or activity you have used with a group of kids.
I think the best loved program that the library has ever had was the “Pirate School”, my clerk at the time was totally into pirates and made a wonderful display with a real parrot and pirate booty. We read the book Talk Like a Pirate and the kids walked the plank…we had relay races with mops and globe beach balls. We made a pirate ship out of cardboard boxes that lasted about 20 minutes before it fell apart. Everyone really had a great time—but considering there were about 10 boys age 7-13 the noise level and the activity level was off the charts!
Can you tell us about something big you learned in the past few years? (about the library, about your community, about yourself, about something else you like to do—anything!)
Being a director is about advocacy, which in other words means getting money. The last 4 years I have asked for more money from the town and the county for the library and have been successful because I have shown that I am fiscally conservative, I can think “outside the box” and most importantly that I am excited about the library. I feel that we have only one last hurdle and that is getting competitive wages. Being an outsider has been very difficult. It can be very frustrating, but the fact that our funding has gone up by 60% and the circulation by 200% is something that supports our library’s existence.