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Spencer gets nod to lead M'ville library

 - TOM CORRIGAN The Marysville Globe
— image credit: TOM CORRIGAN The Marysville Globe

MARYSVILLE When long-time Managing Librarian Maggie Buckholz left the Marysville Library for a new position in February, Eric Spencer agreed to take her spot for six months.

In the meantime, Sno-Isle Library officials planned to conduct a search for Buckholz's permanent replacement.

"After getting here, the job was pretty appealing to me and I applied," said Spencer, 41, who in case you haven't somehow guessed, got the job and became the permanent manager of the local library early this summer.

"This library has a really great blend of services available to the community and it's a community that uses and appreciates the library," Spencer said.

Spencer's last assignment was managing librarian for Sno-Isle's Mill Creek branch where he spent about four years. All in all, he's been with the county system for 11 years, acting as library director in four buildings, including Marysville.

According to Spencer, the Mill Creek library faces constant challenges in terms of space.

"Everything there was about prioritizing," he said, figuring out what the library had room for and what it would just have to do without.

"This building," Spencer said of the Marysville facility, "is sufficiently sized to do what a library is supposed to do."

With a staff of 30 and about 150,000 items in the building's collection, Spencer said he has no thoughts toward making any wholesale changes to the Marysville Library.

"Maggie left this place in great shape," he said, adding that the Sno-Isle system wants its libraries to become more welcoming and inviting, characteristics he contends the Marysville facility already encompasses. There is plenty of room, he said, for anything from private study to public programs.

"This building is very flexible," Spencer added.

Some changes may arrive in teen offerings, as building staff continues to work with an advisory board consisting, naturally enough, of teens.

Some programs that have grown out of that advisory board include a murder-mystery night held after-hours at the library and which attracted some 150 participants.

As for any challenges the Marysville Library may face, Spencer seemed to think they are the same faced by libraries everywhere, such as keeping with up ever-changing media. For example, he said there is a lot more call for DVDs than ever before.

Spencer also wants to keep the library up to date in regard its electronic offerings. He said more and more reference materials are offered exclusively on-line. While some of those materials are available on your home computer, they can be tough to find and costly.

"The best material on the web isn't free," Spencer said, which is where he believes libraries can help, buying rights to various databases and making that information available.

"There's more and more out there every month," Spencer added, also stating that helping patrons maneuver through the mountains of information available on the Internet and finding worthwhile information is one reason libraries and librarians still are needed despite the explosive growth in electronic data.

Spencer began his professional career as a middle school teacher, then helped launch a library in a rural area in Utah, where he was attending Brigham Young University.

"I realized working in a library is very much related to education, it's just your teaching everyone, not just eighth-graders," he said.

Spencer ended up returning to his native Washington and received a master's degree in library and information sciences from the University of Washington.

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