A familiar face takes the helm at Owen County Public Library

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By Molly Haines

At the close of business May 10, Owen County Public Library Director Faith Mulberry said goodbye to her colleagues of six years, entrusting the library’s future with 11-year OCPL veteran Jennifer Chancery.
Mulberry, a resident of Grant County, submitted her letter of resignation to the library’s board April 13, to become the next manager of the Kenton County Public Library’s William E. Durr branch. Mulberry served as OCPL’s director for just over a year, following the resignation of Jennifer Nippert in 2016.
Looking back on her time at OCPL, Mulberry said having served at the library’s former Main Street location gave her a greater appreciation for how the library can now offer patron services.
“They definitely made the best of what they had at the old building, but there were so many things they couldn’t do,” she said. “They were limited on the number of computers, parking, space for books, space for community meetings. When we were able to move here, I got to see how much this location, this building helped us to improve our service to the community.”
The Kenton County Public Library is comprised of three branches, and with a population of over 160,000, Mulberry said she knows the sense of community at her new workplace may differ from Owen County’s.
During her time at OCPL, Mulberry served on the Sweet Owen Day Committee, as well as the Owen County Chamber of Commerce board.
“The thing that I’m most impressed with and that I’m going to take with me -- the staff is first dedicated to their community,” she explained. “Even before the library they’re dedicated to the community, and that is extremely valuable to the library because they are unwilling to do something that isn’t going to be in the best interest of their community, so that can only benefit the library. I love that, they’ve definitely taught me that.
The community takes you in, and it’s a great community here, I’m really sad to leave. There are so many things that are gonna happen that I’m gonna be sad that I don’t get to watch and help do, but Jennifer will be here to watch and help do them.”
An Owen County resident, Chancery, 43, began her career at the library as the adult services librarian and later became the electronic resources coordinator. She added the title of assistant director to her resume earlier this year.
Chancery and her husband David, a social studies teacher at Maurice Bowling Middle School, have three sons, Blake, Connor and Cameron, a junior at Owen County High School.
The Chancery’s moved to Owen County from Alabama nearly 12 years ago to help work in their church, Victory Baptist.
During her time as electronic resources coordinator, Chancery administered federal grant money for technology, helping to enhance patron access to computers and the web.
“Technology has always been a focus of mine and to think that when I started, we only had six public workstations for our entire library,” Chancery said. “We have been fortunate to receive grants for laptops to instruct the public and give them a chance to learn firsthand the basics of computing that some may not have had the opportunity otherwise. Over the years, we have grown from those six computers in 2005 to 35 public PCs, plus 20 iPads today. That’s a pretty substantial increase in those 10 years.”
As for the library’s future, Chancery said she would like to see OCPL become the “true centralized community center.”
“I want folks to think first of the library for all their needs, whether it is to come to the library for our amazing programming, learn a new skill, need help updating their resume to land their next job, require a quiet place to study and work on their online college coursework, a meeting space for their team to collaborate, or just check out the latest book, DVD, audiobook, magazine, newspaper, etc.,” she said. “I want them to think of us first and foremost and know that we are available to help them with whatever they may need.”
While Mulberry admits that leaving her family at OCPL won’t be easy, she believes the library will be in good hands under Chancery’s leadership.
“(Chancery) has a lot of good ideas, she’s practical, she always has the best interest of the library in mind,” Mulberry said. “She’s definitely willing to not just make a quick decision, but to look at the different options and really think about what’s going to be best for the library, the community and the staff.”