Washougal community librarian will retire in October

Christine Hughey plans to stay involved in efforts for larger building

Even though Christine Hughey will soon leave the Washougal Community Library as the community librarian, she plans to participate in some of the events there, including the Christmas wreath-making workshop.

Hughey, 63, will retire effective Saturday, Oct. 10.

No reception is planned. Hughey said she would rather people focus on the continuing efforts to fundraise for a larger library in Washougal.

There is $750,000 in a Fort Vancouver Regional Library District cash reserve fund to go toward that project.

Hughey, of Washougal, said the Friends of the Washougal Community Library and the FVRL District have made huge strides in those efforts.

“During the past four years the Friends grew their group, administered a community survey which provided excellent data about the need for a new branch and continued to tirelessly raise funds not only for the new library, but to support programs for the community,” she said. “Under [FVRL Executive Director] Nancy Tessman’s leadership, the library forged a great partnership with the Friends as well as their umbrella organization, the FVRL Foundation.”

People who contribute $1,000 — either in a lump sum or in monthly installments — will become “Cornerstone” members and have their name or business name engraved on a plaque in the new library.

“My library work has been separate from the fundraising efforts of the Friends,” Hughey said. “After retiring, I look forward to being a member of the Friends and being able to participate in their projects.”

Hughey said there will be an interim community librarian in Washougal, before a successor is chosen. She succeeded Sean McGill in August 2011, after he relocated to the Ridgefield Community Library.

Hughey recalls a project to rearrange furniture and refresh the Washougal library in early 2012 with new carpet and paint and furniture.

“My favorite memory was working with our small staff to accomplish that and seeing how happy our patrons were with their ‘new’ library,” she said. “When a bigger location is secured, the plan is to keep the small town, homey feel of our current library — but with space for everyone to find books, attend programs, read, use computers and connect with others.”

Before working in Washougal, Hughey was the community librarian in Stevenson and North Bonneville for six years. She has worked for the FVRL District for more than 27 years.

Hughey said she has worked at almost all of the branches in the district, and Washougal is one of the friendliest places.

“The staff members are some of the most patient and positive people I’ve met,” she said. “They know most of our patrons by name. The patrons are always bringing in treats and sharing their favorite books. We see a new book come in and know just who would love to read it.

“We watch children start out in baby storytime, then move through the preschool group and before long, they are here participating in the after-school Lego Challenge,” Hughey added.

Anyone who would like information about the community librarian position, qualifications or hiring process can contact the district’s human resources department at 906-5000.

New FVRL director is hired

The Fort Vancouver Regional Library District board of trustees has unanimously approved a hiring contract with Amelia Shelley.

She will assume her new duties as FVRL executive director on Monday, Oct. 12.

Shelley is the executive director of the Garfield County Public Library District in Colorado. She earned a master’s degree in library science at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and a Bachelor of Arts degree at the University of California at Davis.

The FVRL board approved an annual salary of $145,000 for Shelley. She will succeed Tessman, who will retire later this month.

Tessman has served as executive director since July 2012.