COLUMBIA CITY — Occasionally, Peabody Public Library sees an Executive Director retire and a new one takes their place.
For more than 10 years, Mary Colcord was at the helm. During her tenure, she had many accomplishments such as increasing digital and online offerings, navigating affiliation with the state-wide Evergreen library network, and steering the library through COVID-19 restrictions.
Colcord joined Peabody Public Library in 2011 following Janet Skank’s retirement, making her the library’s seventh director. Previously, she worked with the Kendallville Public Library in Kendallville. Colcord distinguished herself from her predecessor by being very involved with local governmental and organization boards.
Board of Trustees members, Chris Bechtold and Greg Hockemeyer, have served on the Board since Colcord’s hiring. They reflect that, “Mary is a hard-working straight shooter. You always know where you stand with her.”
Lead Circulation Assistant and Technical Services Librarian, Karen Blake and Christie Whitton, express gratitude for Colcord’s “...generosity through the years and all [her] dedication to the library, staff, and our community.”
Under Colcord’s leadership, Peabody Public Library became the 100th library to join the Evergreen Indiana consortium, increasing the availability of patron materials.
Adult Services received new collections like The Library of Things, board games, lawn games and hot spots for internet. Youth Services also received new board games, along with science kits, gaming equipment and the establishment of the infamous Snack Shack.
The 1000 Book Club and similar clubs were established to encourage kids to read.
Mobile technology labs brought the library to local establishments, the Senior Center, and Passages to educate the community about technology.
The library itself got new equipment for its meeting rooms to improve overall experience, such as: new TVs, new speakers, new stage lights, etc.
Peabody Public Library was selected as the Jewel of the Community by the Whitley County Chamber of Commerce in 2014. The Indiana State Library Annual Report recognized Peabody Public Library for the countywide Battle of the Books contest in 2015. The library won Whitley County Chamber of Commerce Business of the Month in 2016, among other recognitions over the years.
Now, Peabody Public Library welcomes Mike Ashby as its new director.
Mike Ashby has a master’s degree in Library Science from IUPUI. He comes to Peabody from Allen County Public library, where he worked for six years overseeing Systemwide Circulation, was the system administrator for the library’s Integrated Library System and was the project lead on several upcoming services and systems. Prior to that he worked eight years in the library at the University of Saint Francis in User Services.
Ashby says he is is excited about this next chapter in his life and the opportunity to get to know the great community in Columbia City. His goal is to lead the library in meeting the needs of the community and expand the library’s reach in new and exciting ways. By expanding the reach and services the library will be better able to fulfill its mission of “Building community. Encouraging exploration. Connecting with the world.”
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