By Sandi P. Beason
Since 1998, librarian Louann McDonald has seen her share of changes in the Lee-Itawamba Library System.
Under her leadership as director, the old card catalogues were replaced by an automated system, the Tupelo facility got a makeover with new carpet and computers for the visually impaired, and the library hosted a long list of nationally-known speakers at its annual Helen Foster Lecture Series.
Her time at the library will end Sept. 30, when she leaves her post for health reasons.
“This has been a dream job here,” she said. “I will miss everybody. We've had two good boards (of directors). … I couldn't ask for a better job.”
McDonald said that for the past three years, connective tissue disease has left her fatigued.
A reception Wednesday afternoon honored her service and accomplishments. McDonald came to the library in 1988, and in 1993 was selected director.
Peggy Webb, vice president of the board that hired McDonald, said, “She has done a superb job. She has become a close personal friend as well as a business associate.”
McDonald will be replaced temporarily by Judy McNeece, who has worked as a library cataloguer for the past three years and has been a professional librarian 25 years. On her resume is work at high school, junior college and university libraries, and even at the U.S. Navy library and the Stennis Space Center.
“Things will be pretty much the same,” she said. “We're not planning any big changes. We're going to keep everything going smoothly until we find a director.”
Steve Corban, current board president, said he, the board and the library staff have enjoyed working with McDonald.
“This is a much better library today than we were before Louann,” he said.