Literacy has always been a passion for Teri Smith.
So, after serving for a number of years in education, Smith opted to move on to a new opportunity through which she could continue to share her passion not only with students but an entire community.
For the past six-and-a-half years, Smith has served as the director for the Redwood Falls Public Library.
The role was a new one for her, but Smith proved she was up to the task developing new programs and amenities all with the library’s patrons in mind.
Smith said this role provided an opportunity for her to create programs and events for the community and to write grants, implement new ideas and watch the fun and interest develop.
“I also knew that this position doesn’t come up often, and if I wanted to try something new and different, this was the time and the opportunity,” Smith added. “I love to look at the big picture, make big plans and watch those plans come to fruition. I often tell people that I am not afraid to make plans, ask for help, permission and donations and I love to get others on board with my ideas. I have enjoyed doing all of these while at the library.”
While Smith considers all of the things she was able to do as big accomplishments, she thinks making sure the library is relevant in the community was one of the most significant.
“I tried to make sure the community realized how important the library is to everyone by offering programs and activities that can be enjoyed by many,” explained Smith. “Creating positive relationships with patrons, donors, the library foundation, the Friends of the Library, the library commission, the county board and city council has been a huge accomplishment also. Not every community has the kind of support we have and I have worked hard to make sure that happened.”
What has been most challenging for Smith is knowing when to rein in her ideas and plans.
“Sometimes I have had a great idea, but the time wasn’t quite right for it. I have learned to be patient and maybe there will be another time and place for that idea,” she added.
Smith officially retired from her role as library director as of Oct. 14.
For Smith, some big changes happening in her family made this the right time and the right decision for them.
Smith indicated she will miss all of the people she interacts with on a daily basis.
“I will miss the library staff, the library patrons, city staff, Plum Creek staff and other library directors. I am not going anywhere, so I will still get some of this interaction, but it will be in a different capacity,” added Smith.
For Smith, the Redwood Falls Public Library is a hub in the community, adding the library staff work hard to make it a welcoming place for all.
“The library is going through a needs assessment of the current building and grounds and making plans for what may be needed in the future. It will be exciting to see what the short- and long-range plans will be for the future of the library and what additions or changes may happen as it continues to be a hub of the community,” explained Smith.
Right now Smith is planning to spend time with her husband, their children and their grandchildren, as well as volunteering with a couple of organizations.
Early last spring Smith created a non-profit called Tape & Tinker, which is a makerspace for children. She plans to spend some of her time running that also.