One thing remains a constant in the Montgomery County Public Library (MCPL) system: change. New books replace old books, new readers get their first library card, new programs and educational events refresh outdated ones--and even the staff, ensuring that you can find whatever you seek amongst the stacks--changes.
But recently, MCPL instituted some staff changes that will bring back two familiar faces back to the Wheaton Regional Library: Library Manager, Dianne Whitaker and Senior Librarian, Daniel Beavin.
Today, Patch sits down to catch up with "new/old" Wheaton Library staffer, Daniel Beavin.
Patch: You've staffed/managed a number of libraries in your 25-year tenure in the MCPL system, including a previous stint with Wheaton-- please share some of your work history and your observations on how has the Wheaton library changed since you were last its manager.
Daniel Beavin: My first job in Montgomery County was Manager of the Wheaton library for 11 years after it reopened, following two-and-a-half years of major renovation. The community was upset that the construction took so long and they were without convenient library service so long; but when it finally opened, it was immediately filled with people of all ages, backgrounds and interests.
Since then, I have worked at other branches, most recently Silver Spring. The Wheaton branch has changed, somewhat. The library is still teeming, but with a very diverse crowd of people. A much larger percentage of users are new immigrants who may be looking for employment or to improve their language skills. Most of the library's users are eager to learn and willing to wait in line seeking answers to substantive questions. The building itself is in dire need of renovation after so many years of heavy use--recarpeting and other changes are planned for this fall. Unfortunately, there are fewer children’s programs and the once thriving Health Information Center has become outdated.
Patch: What was it like working with the community on the new Silver Spring Library?
Beavin: Working with the Silver Spring community planning the new library has been very exciting and rewarding. The Library Department held an unprecedented number of to seek ideas, solicit feedback on plans as they developed and to inform interested citizens about the challenges of the building site. The degree of cooperation and trust which developed during this process has been truly inspiring.
The Library Advisory Committee and Friends of the Silver Spring Library deserve public commendation for their hard work in facilitating the planning process and contributing to it. Also, the Library Advisory Committee has done an outstanding job fulfilling its major role in keeping me as Library Manager and the Library Department informed about how the community views the new building project. They will continue to do this with Fran Ware, the new Silver Spring manager. When the library opens its doors, it will be the largest in the MCPL system and is likely to be the busiest.
Patch: How have the County budget cuts affected the Wheaton Library?
Beavin: Budget cuts have taken their toll on the building and on service. Maintenance has been severely cut back and staff reductions have resulted in longer lines. The addition of new materials has slowed and it has become nearly impossible to replace worn or missing items.
Patch: What are you most excited about in your return to Wheaton?
Beavin: I am excited about many aspects of my “new” job in the Wheaton library. First is the library staff: they are committed to providing high-quality library service, work well as a team and have experienced many changes in job location and in the work they do. This makes them flexible and able to take on new challenges with a positive attitude. The staff is looking forward to testing new technology this year.
I am also excited by the large numbers of residents using the library. No one observing the movement of people in the Wheaton library on a busy day can say that libraries are becoming obsolete--just the opposite is true in Wheaton. I am also excited by the challenges of making a positive difference in the lives of people coming through the library doors looking for help.
Beavin says the Wheaton Library is in need of a landscaper, landscaping organization or service to donate much-needed landscaping at the branch. Contact him for more information. Wheaton Regional Library is located at 11701 Georgia Ave., phone 240-777-0678.