Darlene Price will be logging fewer miles on business trips once she starts her new job. Instead of traveling across Europe, she will be checking on libraries in five Georgia counties.
Price returned to her native state in October to serve as the new regional library director of the East Central Georgia Regional Library System. She has spent most of her 30-year career working as a civil service librarian on U.S. Air Force bases across the world.
“At least my libraries are within an hour-and-a-half of each other. I don’t have to get on a plane to get from one library to the next,” Price said.
Before taking the Augusta position, she was located at Ramstein Air Base in Germany. The geographic boundaries of her new duties are smaller, but Price plans to use many of the skills she learned overseeing the European region. She must make staffing, facilities and operations decisions, and adjust to evolving trends.
“We have to keep customers satisfied the best we can. Keep new products in here, keep up with what’s going on in libraries, not just in the state of Georgia but all over the U.S.,” she said.
In her first two months on the job, Price visited each library in the region and discussed needs and new ideas with each director. She has developed an action plan for the coming year that accounts for more reading of electronic materials.
At the library headquarters on Telfair Street, Price is leading an expansion of dedicated floor space and programs for teens and young adults.
Other changes include adding educational resources, such as foreign language tools and children’s magazines to online databases that can be accessed from home.
“There’s no reason you have to come into the library all the time,” Price said.
Price also plans to invest resources in library branches around Augusta. The Appleby Library has funding available, but she needs to find funds for the Maxwell and Friedman branches. The Augusta Library Foundation will be re-established to help apply for grant money for arts and cultural programs.