By Lena Mitchell/NEMS Daily Journal
IUKA – Fredda Sanderson McCune’s driving force for the past 34 years has been to be the best she can be, and to make her library the same.
When she retires as Iuka’s librarian on Wednesday, McCune can take pleasure in knowing she has helped place the library at the heart of life in Iuka.
The Friends of Iuka Library is one of the largest and strongest friends groups in the state, and being part of the Northeast Regional Library System brings resources from other communities to Iuka.
“I love this library,” McCune said. “I’ve always wanted it to be the best it can be and for everyone to feel welcome here – every age, every gender, every race. I never wanted anyone to feel hesitant walking in here, and I hope I’ve accomplished that over the years.”
The huge turnout on a rainy Tuesday for McCune’s farewell reception last week says many support her in achieving that goal.
McCune has remained open to new ideas and approaches as the library has transitioned from a card catalog housed in hardwood cabinet drawers to computer terminals with virtual files.
As often as she has moved books and library shelves for renovations and construction, she has moved them to make collections more visible and useful, to make way for video collections and paperbacks, or to accommodate the growing number of computer stations to serve the expanding needs of library patrons.
“Fredda is a person who wants to get things done and wants to get them done now,” said William McMullen, executive director of the regional library system. “She plans, she strategizes, she seeks help from others, but throughout the entire process she is working diligently and efficiently to get the project completed. She wants to provide the people of Iuka with the very best of everything that the library can offer.”
The area where McCune hopes she has left her most significant mark is in making reading a central element of children’s lives.
Whether through characters she dramatizes during the weekly story hour, bringing something fresh to each summer’s reading program, donning bunny ears for the spring Easter egg hunts or taking on the character of Mrs. Claus for December Christmas parties, McCune has thrown heart and soul into making the library a fun and thrilling place for children.
“I want children to love books, to love to read and have fond memories of the library,” she said. “I’ve had parents who came here as young children bring their own children in and share how much they love the library, and that’s very satisfying for me. Sometimes it makes me a little teary.”