Eaton — The Preble County District Library is officially under new leadership after the hiring of Andy Mollica as the new director.
Mollica spent the past 25 years practicing litigation law in Athens, Ohio where he spent the majority of his life before moving to Preble County to take over as the director of the Preble County District Library.
His path to being the director is a bit different, since he has spent most of his life practicing law. However, being involved in the library has always been interesting to Mollica.
“I needed a new challenge and I’ve always been interested in the library world — I almost went to library school way, way back when I was in college.” Mollica said. “I worked at the school library helping with cataloguing and special interest projects and was really into it. It was close.”
Mollica is currently in school to obtain MLIS, a Masters in Library and Information Science, in order to help prepare him for the new challenges he faces as director.
One of those challenges, according to Mollica, has been learning the system, something he knows will be challenging. But, learning the system has shown him how important the system is to the people of Preble County.
“I’m coming to realize how much this system means to our patrons here; I really did not have an idea as to the amount and extent of use of services but Preble County folks really do use the library,” he said. “I understand why, I obviously can’t take any credit for it, but the staff and prior administration put together some really good programs.”
Right now Mollica believes his biggest challenge will be funding and the pending renewal of the library levy.
“My biggest concern is being able to provide all the services we do now because of funding challenges,” Mollica continued. “Library funding has been challenging over the past five years — the funding state wide is at the 1996 levels. Fortunately the people of this county passed a levy to help fund the library.”
Mollica said being able to provide the amount of services the library currently provides to the residents of Preble County strongly depends on the vote on the library renewal come this November, but he is hopeful since the original levy passed fairly convincingly.
Mollica said coming into the job he didn’t have much of an agenda because he felt the current system and staff already had a strong system in place.
The staff is part of the reason Mollica believes the transition has gone well.
“The staff has been very welcoming and helpful…and patient, I really couldn’t have asked for a better set of circumstances to walk into, it’s been great. Whether they feel the same way about me, I don’t know.” Mollica laughed.
Mollica noted, coming from Athens, a place of strong Appalachian descent, is a bit different from the more traditional Midwesterners of Preble County but he has enjoyed the change in scenery.
“I like Preble County very much,” he said. “In my limited interaction so far, the people have been really nice and welcoming. I really like the different burgs, Eaton is a cool city and I’m currently living in Lewisburg and I think it’s been great so far.”