DCL celebrates outgoing director's years of service

In January, the DeWitt Community Library transitioned from its longtime home in the basement of Shoppingtown Mall to a new location in the former space of Bon-Ton Department Store. Now the library is experiencing another substantial change as it bids farewell to its director of almost two decades, Susan Reckhow. On Dec. 3, the Friends of the DeWitt Community Library held a reception in her honor; more than 80 people attended.

"It is with bittersweet emotion that I leave the DCL," Reckhow said in a speech to her colleagues and friends. "[It] has been more than a place of employment to me. It has been a part of my heart as well."

Reckhow is leaving the third busiest suburban library in Onondaga County to be leader of another, smaller one in Syracuse: the Onondaga Free Library, located at 4840 West Seneca Turnpike.

"An opportunity presented itself to be closer to home, which will be more advantageous for my family life," she said.

In addition, she said it's a library that wants to grow and is scheduled to begin a building project in the spring.

Described as forward-thinking, Reckhow was the first in the county to initiate "bookstore" categories that still incorporate the Dewey Decimal System. This system, applied to nonfiction holdings, makes it easier for patrons to search and find information in one area rather than multiple locations in the library.

"If somebody wants to paint a bedroom, they'll find all the books they might need in that one section," said Carol Youngs, marketing and promotions coordinator. "She's [Reckhow] had libraries as far away as Connecticut call her to ask her how she did it. It's kind of cutting edge."

The DeWitt Community Library Board of Trustees is initiating a search for a new executive director, its goal to have the position filled within 90 days, said John Sharon, board president. Assistant Director Bill Hastings will act as the interim director.

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