LOWELL | After nearly five years at the helm of the Lowell Public Library, Director Sandy Morgan will retire March 30.
"This was not an easy decision for me to make," Morgan said. "I will be leaving a wonderful and creative staff. No one does this job by themselves. It has been an honor and a privilege to work with our staff and Board of Trustees and I would like to publicly thank them."
Morgan also credited the library board, the Friends of the Library, community organizations and residents with the library's success. "All are what makes our library the best it can be, one with hometown flavor while keeping pace with new technology.
"Reluctantly, I am leaving before the wildlife mural is completed in the Children's Room," Morgan said. "This work of art by artist Dennis Orlowski will be enjoyed and inspire early reading development for generations to come."
Library Board President Zern Hayden said Morgan's intelligence and passion for her work helped the library thrive during challenging times.
"It has been my experience, knowing Sandy for many years, that she has gone way above and beyond anybody's call of duty in her service to the community, especially in her efforts to keep our library independent," Hayden said.
Board member Mary K. Bruce said Morgan has been "a joy to work with. She has always been committed to having our library maintain a high level of excellence with a well-trained staff. She has kept us solvent and open during these hard economic times. Sandy is one of a kind and there will be big shoes to fill when she retires."
Morgan began her career at the library in 1988 as a secretary/bookkeeper, moving up to administrative assistant. She left the library in 1995, and then returned as a member of its Board of Trustees.
She resumed her library career in 1999, becoming business administrator in 2000. She was named interim director in 2006 and director in 2007.
During Morgan's tenure, the library closed its books on the mortgage for the construction of the library and purchased adjacent property for future expansion.
When a bill was introduced in the Indiana Legislature in 2009 proposing county consolidation of the state's libraries, Morgan launched a local campaign to keep the Lowell Public Library independent. Supported by library staff and local residents, Lowell and libraries across Indiana joined forces and the bill died in committee.
Shortly thereafter, Lowell and the six other Lake County library districts instituted a three-year Reciprocal Borrowing Payment Suspension Agreement.
Under Morgan, programming greatly increased. The library reduced its Internet costs by 50 percent and installed a security system both in and outside the library building and became a Wi-Fi center as well as installing a new phone system. The library also increased the number of public access computers to 18, implemented a Lowell Public Library web page and is now on Facebook.
Morgan saw to it that the Shelby branch was updated with wireless computers, a new HVAC system and interior improvements, and that the Schneider branch was given Wi-Fi access.