Indian Rocks Beach Librarian Lee Miller says she is confident about the future of the library.
INDIAN ROCKS BEACH – The city of Indian Rocks Beach has a new librarian. She is well educated in the field and is confident that libraries are going to play a vital role in the future no matter how much technology changes.
Lee Miller replaces Tina Stagliano, who recently moved back to Ireland. She was appointed to the position just before April 1 by City Manager Gregg Mims who wrote of her academic qualifications in the announcement of her appointment.
“Lee holds a master’s in library and information science degree from the University of Washington, educators’ endorsement, teaching certificate and a baccalaureate of arts degree from San Francisco State University,” he wrote.
With that pedigree one might think Miller dreamed of being a librarian all her life; in fact she sort of fell into the field.
“I was actually a school teacher and taught library science in Montana,” she said. “I taught in a small school. I taught English, reading and theater and they needed a librarian so I took that on too.”
During that time Miller got a scholarship to pursue a master’s degree in library science. It was then she knew what she wanted to do.
“I fell in love with it,” she said. “I loved libraries because I had been a student my whole life and now I get to share with others.”
It is a big leap from Montana to Tampa Bay. Miller made the leap because of family.
“My family is in Clearwater and in Tarpon Springs and I lived here for a while before I went off to school. I came back here four years ago to be closer to my family,” she said.
Miller now lives very close to her family. She lives in Dunedin.
When she moved back from Montana, Miller went to work for the Tampa Hillsborough Public Library and worked closely with the Friends of the Library. She became the volunteer coordinator with the Tampa-Hillsborough County Public Library, a position that would bode well in her application to the Indian Rocks Beach position.
The Indian Rocks Beach Library operates almost entirely on volunteer help; in fact the librarian is the only paid person on staff.
The city’s finance director, Dan Carpenter, a member of the executive committee that made the decision to hire Miller, said her involvement with volunteers was critical.
“She has experience working with volunteers so she was a good choice,” he said. “Our library is run completely by volunteers. Without a doubt the fact that it is run with such help from volunteers is what makes it unique. Those things made her stand out among the other candidates.”
Carpenter said there were many candidates for the job and he was quick to point out that they were good candidates, nearly two dozen of them.
“We had such a number of candidates for the position because we put it out there,” he said. “We put it out in as many places that we could, through the state library system, employment publications and so on.”
The Friends of the Library vetted the initial list of applicants and a shorter list of five was sent for final selection by Mims, Carpenter and Human Resources specialist Elizabeth Atkinson.
Miller came out on top.
“I think for me it was both her experience in the industry and her personality. She seemed like a real people person. Those were the two main factors,” said Carpenter.
Miller, who has two grown children, said she sees nothing but potential in the IRB Library.
“I think it is a jewel of a library,” she said. “I believe this community loves this library and they are invested in its success. We have over 30 volunteers. Some are snowbirds and some are full time residents and they are delightful to work with. I get input on what the community wants and what is best for the library.”
Miller looks to the future with optimism and said the library will keep up with whatever changes are in store.
“Here in IRB we have computer access; we can scan documents. People can use our Wi-Fi with their devices and we have e-content so you can download books from our collection through our contract with the Pinellas County system,” she said.
Miller noted that the library has served older people and tourists well, but now the job is to reach forward to connect with the growing number of young people in the city.
She has no doubt this will be achieved.
“Under the circumstances this tiny little library is pretty progressive. I am more than confident we can keep pace with the future.”