Children books and adventures drove her passion

 

IMLAY CITY — It ended sooner than she wanted, but longtime director Tracy Aldrich said it was time to end her 12-year run as the facility’s Director.

“I’ve been a librarian for 30 years and have been the Director here with the Ruth Hughes Memorial District Library for 12 years,” she recalled during her last day or work last Friday.

Tracy Aldrich had a desk full of documents for the incoming leadership at the library.

“It’s been wonderful. I have loved being here in Imlay City, and at Attica Twp, and there have been a lot of changes a long the way,” she added.
Two major items to deal with, she had little to no control of.

“When I first came, we were still in a recession. That really impacted our operations,’ Aldrich recalled. “Then COVID came and we all know how that went. We were told by the State what we could and couldn’t do. To say the least, that was a very difficult time. For all of us.”

Aldrich, who worked with a staff of 10 who rotated their time between Imlay City and Attica, said a need to take care of a family medical situation ultimately led to her decision to step away from Imlay City and Attica branches.

Now, instead of her hour-long commute, one way, from Anchorville every day to Imlay City, she will have a 10-minute drive to and from a part-time job she was able to find closer to home.

Asked what got her attention to become involved with the library, Aldrich reflected, “I knew as a young child I wanted to be a Director of a small rural library system. I was in Sterling Heights and driving home one day, I saw a sign for Imlay City. I got home and saw the posting for the job here. It was almost like a sign that I should apply.”

Her real passion is for children and the many opportunities to read and have adventures at the library.

“It was always my hope, to really develop a children’s area at the library. We’ve made some good strides with a play area and a learning area, but we could always do more to make it a better experience for them. I had a vision, because Attica Twp. is so small, to make it a children’s library. It has a lot of character and is a wonderful building. A perfect place to redevelop just for kids.”

Aldrich was part of two successful millages for the library during her tenure, the first one passing by a margin of 75% . The second one, passed in 2020. Both provide the library with their operating funds, according to Aldrich.

During her time with the library system, Aldrich says one of the biggest changes has been going from CDs to everything digital. And, she has seen less use of the facilities computer stations.

“Almost everyone has their own devices now so we’re not seeing as much demand for computers,” she said. “We still have a few regulars that come in. But the majority have other avenues to research and what not.”

Although it was a busy final day for Aldrich, she made time to thank those she worked with and encouraged them to, “smile and treat people right. Say yes as much as possible to questions. Be kind and show grace to everyone.”