Wild Ideas: No cougars in Virginia . . . so far   

Left to right, Denise Kruczynski, former director David Shaffer and Amanda Weakley of the Rappahannock County Library.

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Many of us here in Rappahannock use our local library, and know just how rare, unique and special it is. It may be smaller than some, but it is mighty. A huge part of what makes it such a gem is the library staff. 

For years before COVID-19 made it the thing to do, David, Amanda and Denise (aka “The Three Musketeers”) have regularly left the internet up after hours so county residents could still have access from the parking lot. They know what it is like out here. Want a book that they may not have? No problem, they’ll order it for you. Not quite done with that book you checked out and want to renew? Just give them a call. The librarians do it for you. The incredible genuinely helpful individual personal service is extended to all with courtesy and kindness and respect.

So it was with utter shock and dismay that I learned back in June from a Rappahannock News article that longtime library director, David Shafer, tendered his resignation in April. Oh no! That was after COVID hit — I didn’t even get a chance to say good-bye! To say I was devastated is an understatement. Thank goodness the other two members of the library team — Denise Kruczynski and Amanda Weakley — are there. Denise has been with the library for 19 years. Amanda, who has been the library’s assistant director and youth services librarian, has been with the library for 10 years.

Since Amanda has been responsible for youth services, children’s attendance for story time has increased ten-fold. She is well-loved by both the kids and their parents. Since David’s resignation, Amanda has been serving as the interim director for months now. She has expressed her desire to continue to do what she does, as the new library director. It makes perfect sense; she knows the library, she and Denise work amazingly together, she knows the library patrons, some of whom are rather “unique,” she knows the county, she’s smart as a whip. She understands the nuances of life here in Rappahannock, she knows we do things “a little different” out here, that some things, some people, need to be handled with care. In short, Amanda “gets it.”

However, the Library Board of nine has been looking into other candidates to be the next Rappahannock Library Director. While it is a public position that requires it be advertised, and others considered, to me it is a complete “no-brainer” — Amanda is uniquely qualified. While she has the educational degree required, has the intelligence and “library work experience,” she has what no other candidate has — the “boots on the ground” experience, years of it, right here, right now. This is Rappahannock, we are not like other places. We are special, our library is special, the county residents and others who use it are special, and we deserve the best library director there is. And that is Amanda.

If you love the library as I do, if you want the service you have come to expect to remain, if you want things to stay as close to “the same” as we can get, then you need to take just a few minutes of your time to make sure that all nine library board members understand you want Amanda to be our library director. If there is going to be change, let’s make sure it’s the right person for the job. It is important that you make your feelings known.

Victoria Fortuna, President, Stonewall Hawthorne District: victoria.fortuna@yahoo.com

Janet Davis– Vice President, Stonewall Hawthorne District: 4cgardeners@copper.net

Debbie Knick, Treasurer, Hampton District: dlknick@rappahannockcountyva.gov

Beth Gainer, Secretary, Stonewall Hawthorne District: bgainer1980@aol.com

Garrey Curry, County Representative: gwcurry@rappahannockcountyva.gov

Judy DeSarno, Hampton District: judydesarno@gmail.com

Maureen Harris, Piedmont District: maureenharris453@gmail.com

Randi Shumate, Hampton District: randishumate@comcast.net

Theresa Sidrow, Jackson District: starjasmn@gmail.com

— The writer lives in Amissville

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