WEST PITTSTON — David Bauman first met several staff members of the West Pittston Library in 2015 at a Year of Beer event at Sabatini’s Bottle Shop and Bar.
He could tell they were a fun bunch to be around.
“I thought ‘what a fun staff that would be to work with,’” Bauman said. “I can’t say it was my goal for the whole two years, but it’s kind of neat that it happened.”
The Plains Township resident’s wish came true in January when he was named director of the West Pittston Library.
His hiring comes after previous director Anne Bramblett, left to accept a job with the Austin Public Library in Austin, Texas.
Bramblett asked Bauman to throw his name in the hat.
“When I saw the position open, Anne asked me if I had applied for it, so I did,” he said.
Bauman has been learning the job on the go and is in constant contact with Bramblett about how some of the operations work.
“We’ve been in contact through phone calls, through e-mails, through text messages and she’s been very super at answering questions about what is this and what is that,” he said. “That was the other thing, coming in there was the flood and the fact that I’m doing the annual report for the year I wasn’t here, putting out newsletters. I’ve basically hit the ground running and I haven’t stopped.”
The flood Bauman referred to is the ice jam that occurred in late January, in which a heavy amount of ice and water caused the Susquehanna River to crest and cause minor flooding in West Pittston.
Luckily for Bauman, he has a staff that’s already been through that type of experience with the flood of 2011.
He said the staff came together to move the library’s historical collections to Circulation Desk Coordinator Maria Jiunta-Heck’s house, which is away from the flood zone.
“The staff was fantastic,” Bauman said. “You can tell they really care about this place because they all were pitching in, loading up cars to take things out of the flood zone. I looked around at the library and was thinking ‘I barely got to know you. little library, and now we might have a (flood).’”
Luckily, no harm came to the library and business went on as usual.
Bauman called the flood a bonding experience for him and his staff.
“I think it was a great bonding start,” he said. “This is their library. They don’t just work here.”
Bauman said he’s not looking to change anything with the way the library is operated, and he’s been leaning heavily on his staff to keep the ship running smoothly.
Summer Belles, Youth Services Coordinator, said she’s happy Bauman is keeping things as is, and is letting the staff continue to be themselves.
“I think it’s a good opportunity for David to see how we present ourselves on a day-to-day basis,” she said. We have a lot of fun and we like to joke. We take some time away from our work to sit and talk, and ideas come up in normal conversation. He’s a part of that. It’s been easier than I expected.”
Bramblett was big on offering various programs, and Bauman plans to keep that mission alive.
Spring programs are underway and summer programs are being finalized. Bauman said he has ideas for when the fall rolls around such as bringing back adult computer classes and a writing program to help people cope with something.
He also has an idea for something called Bad Libs which includes crossing out words in a paragraph and then coming up with replacement words.
With a new regime underway at the West Pittston Library, Bauman is excited for what’s to come and says he has the perfect staff to help him along the way.
“We’re going to continue the kind of great service to the community with programs and fun that we have done,” he said. “We have different people with different personalities and strengths.”
Reach Jimmy Fisher at 570-704-3972 or on Twitter @SD_JimmyFisher