Harpers Ferry welcomes new librarian

The new head librarian at the Bolivar-Harpers Ferry Public Library said she’s found her nook.

“I love it, it’s great. It’s my dream job,” Gretchen Fry said.

Fry officially took the helm at the library Feb. 6, replacing longtime head librarian Nancy Manuel, who retired Jan. 30. after serving at the library for 19 years.

Gretchen Fry is the new head librarian at the Bolivar-Harpers Ferry Public Library. She replaces Nancy Manuel, who stepped down after 19 years of service.

Fry spent her childhood living in Michigan and Wisconsin before moving with her parents to Silver Spring, Md. when she was 16. After high school, she went on to receive a master’s degree in psychology from Ohio University in Athens, Ohio and a master’s degree in library science from Florida State University.

She taught psychology at Hocking College in Nelsonville, Ohio for three years when she decided to change careers. “I wanted to do something different,” she said.

She moved to Harpers Ferry five years ago to be closer to her family and took a job working for the Frederick Co. (Md.) library system. The experience, along with her educational background, allowed her to apply for the job when Manuel announced she was stepping down.

Fry has plans to further improve the library. “I want to update the website. I want to provide more links to resources. The idea is to build a ‘virtual library.’ We are already set up for people to access e-books and download books from home,” she said.

Fry said she believes libraries are important to a community.

“The library is one of the few places a person can go to get free, reliable information. The library also provides access to computers and the Internet for people who otherwise do not own computers,” she said. “Libraries are very relevant in today’s economy. People can get books and movies for free, saving people money.”

According to Fry, the community is instrumental for a library to succeed.

“We would like to see the community more involved in the library. We are in need of volunteers to help out at the library. For example, one could help teach a class on computers, art, nutrition or knitting,” she said. “Libraries are more than just books. They are a place that the community can gather to learn and trade ideas.”

The library is open Monday through Saturday. For more information or to volunteer, call the library at 304-535-2301 or go to www.youseemore.com/bhf.

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