The community honors outgoing Toccoa-Stephens County Library Manager Michelle Austin.
Austin is retiring at the end of the month and on Friday, a reception was held at the Toccoa-Stephens County Library meeting room to recognize her service to the library.
Austin said she appreciates everyone who turned out on Friday to wish her well.
“I just did not expect all of this,” said Austin. “I am so appreciative to my Library Board of Trustees and to our Friends of the Library and to my wonderful staff being able to do such a wonderful reception for me. I am just delighted in being able to see everyone that I have seen. It has been amazing and I am very, very appreciative.”
Austin has been at the library for 24 years, the last 11 of those as the library manager.
She said she has enjoyed that time very much.
“I love the interaction with all of the people,” said Austin. “I love books first of all. That is a prerequisite for even being in the library as far as I am concerned. I love everything to do with books; the reading, the shelving, everything that has to do with the library. I have so enjoyed it. I really, really have. I especially am going to miss the daily interaction with not only my staff, but with the patrons that come in that make the library such a special place.”
Austin pointed to renovations of the children’s area of the library as one of the biggest changes over the years, calling that a wonderful accomplishment.
Toccoa-Stephens County Library Board Chairman John Dickerson said that Austin has done a wonderful job leading the library.
“She is made this library a place that this community sees with a source of pride. She has led our library. She has led our projects with the kids, with the Friends of the Library. We are delighted to honor her. She will be missed, but she will always be welcomed.”
The library board recognized Austin during the reception with a plaque honoring her service. Also, the library board announced it has made a contribution to purchase a book or books in Austin’s honor.
As for what’s next for Austin, she said that she will certainly not be leaving books behind.
“Let’s just say, ‘so many books, so little time’,” said Austin. “Now I am going to have more time to read. As Thomas Jefferson said, ‘I cannot live without books’.”
Emily McConnell will take over as the new library manager of the Toccoa-Stephens County Library next month.