This is Gretchen Corsillo, RPL Director
By Jennifer Ersalesi
Photos provided by Gretchen Corsillo
During the last couple of months of 2020, the Rutherford Public Library welcomed a new Director, Gretchen Corsillo. After spending time working in libraries as a teenager and after working in Corporate America, Gretchen decided to go back to college to get her Master’s in Library and Information. She was the Director of the Worth-Pinkham Memorial Library in Ho-Ho-Kus and Allendale’s Lee Memorial Library. This is Rutherford spoke with Gretchen about her new position, her experience, and her interests.
President of the Rutherford Public Board of Trustees, Wendy Armacost, "The Board of Trustees is excited to work with Gretchen. Her management skills, extensive library experience, time spent on BCCLS boards and committees, and her public relations and marketing background made her an exceptional candidate. We feel very fortunate to have her and look forward to working with her."
TIR: Now that you have been the Director of the Rutherford Public Library for a few months, what excites you most about your new position?
Gretchen Corsillo: RPL has a great reputation for providing a wide variety of high-quality services to residents of Rutherford and the surrounding communities, both in normal times and during the pandemic. As I've begun to settle in here, I am excited to continue our path forward. In the coming year, the library will begin to work on developing a new strategic plan, and I am excited to begin thinking about where we will go in the future.
TIR: Prior to becoming Director at RPL, you were the Director of both the Pinkham Memorial Library in Ho-Ho-Kus and Allendale’s Lee Memorial Library, so you come to Rutherford with a great deal of experience. What do you hope to bring to the RPL?
GC: Both Ho-Ho-Kus and Allendale are considerably smaller than Rutherford, so those roles gave me a lot of experience in wearing all the hats, so to speak. Having limited staffs and budgets forced me to think outside the box in terms of accomplishing our goals, in addition to giving me experience working in areas of the library that a director may not typically be involved with. All of that experience has helped me become a creative problem solver and given me a strong hands-on understanding of how a library operates as a whole. I also had the opportunity in both towns to collaborate with a variety of community groups, which I hope to do here as well.
TIR: Since we are still in the middle of a pandemic, you, like many other Library Directors and staff members are trying to find creative ways to keep the library active and keep serving the library’s patrons. What are some ways that you and the RPL staff are engaging with the patrons of the library and providing services while adhering to COVID-19 guidelines and regulations?
GC: Although the building is now open for visitors, we have continued offering our popular Grab & Go service for patrons who may not feel comfortable coming inside. This service allows patrons to place requests for items via our website or by calling us, then picking them up door side. Patrons coming inside now have the added option of contactless self-checkout using our new MeeScan kiosk. We have shifted our programs to take place virtually via Zoom and Facebook Live. Some of our current offerings include adult crafts, ESL classes, and children's events. Our popular yoga classes will resume soon as well. We have also increased digital access to many of our reference resources. For example, Ancestry.com may now be accessed from home, and a digital version of Value Line is available. We've enhanced our web presence, and our website contains a ton of useful information on topics like finance, technology, and genealogy that patrons can browse from home.
TIR: As someone who has spent a lot of time working with children, young adults, and families, what are some effective ways you have found to keep young readers reading and interested in visiting the library and finding great books to read?
GC: I am a firm believer that there is a book for every reader. Reading should be fun, and I've always encouraged kids to read what they're interested in. Of course, assigned reading and individual reading levels are important, but I find that allowing kids to balance these with whatever appeals to them makes reading more exciting. For example, some children may be visual learners and gravitate towards graphic novels, or a reluctant reader who loves sports may enjoy reading the biography of a favorite athlete. By showing that reading can be enjoyable, we can hopefully keep kids engaged with books and the library. Miss Jane's lively library programs also help!
TIR: What are some of your interests and hobbies outside of your career?
GC: I love fitness and am a certified spin instructor, although I am not teaching during the pandemic. I also enjoy music, creative writing, and sports. I am a huge fan of hockey, baseball, and football.