It will be bittersweet for Margaret Sterling Evans to retire at the end of the month from the Hammond Public Library.
Sterling Evans began her career with the library in 1971 as head of technical services. She became library director in 1997 and has since ushered in many changes and improvements at the main branch as well as the E.B. Hayward and Howard branches.
She will meet with well-wishers at an open house from 3:30 to 6:30 p.m. Jan. 28 at the main branch, 564 State St.
"I love all the library users I've met through the years and I hope to see many," she said.
As director, Sterling Evans guided activities, developed budgets and hired staff at the branches. She also made a point of traveling to each of the locations.
"I've always said my management style, is management by walking around," she said of her hands-on approach.
Sterling Evans directed many changes through the years, including the addition of the library's first computer in 1985. Since that day, there have been generations of automated circulation systems, no more card catalogs. Today there are more than 50 personal computers for the public to use. The physical structure of the library has changed with time, including an extensive remodeling project that began in 2000 and lasted for two years while the library continued to serve the public.
"I'm really proud of what we've done with the library," she said, noting it stays current with books, magazines, DVDs, CDs, Playaway audio books and more.
"The best thing has been meeting the people in the community. Being director I'm able to go out and represent the library and meet many wonderful people. I also like to be on the floor answering reference questions," she added.
Sterling Evans, of Lansing, belongs to Woodmar-Hammond Kiwanis, Hammond Historical Society and plans to get involved in Friends of the Hammond Public Library. In retirement, she plans to catch up on home projects and spend time with family and her grandchildren.
While she has lots of plans that will keep her busy, Sterling Evans said she will visit the library branches.
"I'm sure my car will find its way to Hammond Public Library," she said.
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