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Pendleton native hopes to help library better serve Jefferson County community.

DESIREE BERGSTROM/MADRAS PIONEER - Jane Ellen Innes looks forward to reaching out to Jefferson County residents to learn what the library can do better and plans to keep the Community Read program going strong. There is a new face at the Jefferson County Library and she is excited to be here in Madras.

Jane Ellen Innes, the new library director, started at the end of June and she is looking forward to getting to know the community and helping the library to better serve the community's needs.

A Pendleton native, Innes spent much of her adult life in Michigan and then most recently in Walla Walla, where she worked as an academic librarian for a private college's online library.

Innes is looking forward to being a part of this community, mentioning how she has a tendency to jump into multiple different things, full-blast, but she is trying to take it slower this time around and focus of getting to know the job, people and community.

That doesn't mean she is without ideas and goals for the library. One thing she is certainly passionate about is keeping the Community Read going. "We are not going to not have the Community Read on my watch," she said.

The program is looking for volunteers and some people have been wondering what would become of the program as some of the core group stepped away to do other things. One thing is for sure, it's not going anywhere if Innes has anything to say about it.

Innes, when asked, said her favorite non-fiction book is "The Gift of Fear" by Gavin de Becker, which she said discusses how your subconscious is more aware than your conscious.

"It's kind of an odd book but it is one of my favorites," she said. She also said she just finished reading Michelle Obama's "Becoming" and really enjoyed it.

Other things at the top of her list right now include preparing for a new book tagging system that will begin this month. The new system has been in the works for a while and will allow faster check-ins and check-outs. The way it works is once the books are tagged that way, someone wishing to check out items will place the whole stack on the checkout sensor and it will automatically check out the whole stack, no more one-at-a-time.

Innes also said that when she got here there were some positions that needed filling and she had to take care of that as well.

"Its been busy," she said. "I kind of have a philosophy that I don't look at the whole mountain. I just take one foot and put it in front of the other."

"It's a big job. DeRese (Hall, her predecessor) has been great. She is an excellent resource," she said, mentioning that she and the previous director had met several times.

"The staff has been very supportive (through the transition)," she said. "I think they did a great job here in the interim without a library director. Things just seemed like they ran very smoothly."

"They take a personal pride in making sure that it runs smoothly. That has made it a lot easier for me," Ines said, noting that the most challenging part of the job is that there is never a dull moment.

One day it's breaking down boxes and another it's dealing with dogs roaming the street, she said, "I think that's part of the charm of a small town."

"I feel very comfortable in the community and with the job," Innes added and said it has been a natural transition for her into the community and has acclimated quickly.

"To me the library is the community equalizer. It provides access to information for people and allows people wo don't have computers to access computers; the ones who don't want to or can't buy the books you can get them here," she said. "I hope that we are responsive to the community and our collection reflects the needs of the community," adding that she wants to start asking library patrons what they can improve on to better serve their needs.

Innes said the one thing that people shout know about her is that she is enthusiastic about Jefferson County and this library. She wants to see it serve the area the best way it can and she is looking forward to being here.


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