Jackie Viestenz, left, has retired as director of the Sherman Free Library in Port Henry. Andrea Anesi, right, is the new library director and Gail Baker the new assistant librarian.
Jackie Viestenz agreed to become Sherman Free Library director on a temporary basis just to help out. That was nearly 12 years ago. She retired July 1.
“The library was very lucky to have such a dedicated director who instituted a variety of services to the community,” said Staley Rich, Port Henry library board president. “We will miss Jackie, but we wish her the best in her retirement. She has certainly earned it.”
Andrea Anesi is the new Sherman Free Library director. Gal Baker has joined the staff as assistant librarian.
Viestenz took charge of the Port Henry library when the then librarian took a temporary medical leave. Her temporary job became full time in January 2002. During her tenure the community library was modernized and expanded.
“In 2005, I implemented automating the library,” Viestenz said. “That change brought many new features to the library such as online catalog book searches and reservations through the Clinton-Essex-Franklin Library system and generated the addition of computers to the library for the community to access and use.”
The addition of the computers was made possible through grants secured from the Bill Gates Foundation.
“Jackie provided new reading programs for area children, along with weekly book clubs, guest presentations, computer classes and art exhibits,” Rich said. “I know as much as the community will miss Jackie they will be very pleased with the addition of Andrea Anesi, who has a long history with libraries.”
Anesi grew up in Hallstead, Pa., where her mother was the town librarian. She went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Kutztown University in Pennsylvania before receiving a master’s in library science from Syracuse University in 1992. She has worked in small and medium-sized public libraries in positions ranging from assistant librarian to reference librarian to library director.
Shortly after Anesi moved to Port Henry with her husband in March, she learned Viestenz was mulling retirement.
“It seemed fortuitous, so I applied and was thrilled to be offered the position,” said Anesi. “My goals for the library are to continue the work of retiring director Jackie Viestenz, offer more library programs and services, increase the library’s online presence, and start a Friends of the Library group.”
Helping Anesi will be Baker, who is replacing Sandy Ritchie who also retired earlier this year.
Baker is from Brunswick. She came to Port Henry as a student teacher at Moriah Elementary School. She stayed and in 2010 retired after a 25-year career as a teacher at Moriah Central School.
“Throughout her career, she has taught a wide range of ages from toddlers at a day care center to adult learners trying to become better readers,” Rich said of Baker. “She is passionate about reading and books and is excited to continue to work in the realm of literacy.
“We are very pleased and excited to have both Andrea and Gail on staff,” Rich added. “Our community is very lucky to have obtained two-highly enthusiastic and committed individuals who will provide the quality of service established by Mrs. Viestenz and move the library forward to meet the needs of our patrons.”