Jericho Library patrons—there’s a new sheriff in town.
In the years since its inception in 1964, the Jericho Public Library has had a total of five directors. With the retirement of its most recent head administrator, Barbara Kessler, the library is welcoming a new chief at its helm in the form of former assistant director Christina Brenner, who has a fresh, exciting outlook for the future.
“It felt wonderful being selected,” she said. “It’s a lot to take on, but the staff encouraged me to pursue it. I’m grateful for the opportunity and I’m really looking forward to putting my stamp on where we’re going. It’s exciting.”
Brenner, who lives in East Meadow with her husband and three children, has worked at the Jericho library for more than 24 years. She originally had gone to school for elementary education, but instead chose to become a stay-at-home mom. When her children were older, Brenner decided to return to the work force and answered an ad in a local paper for a part-time position at the library.
“I started in the administration office doing payroll and processing periodicals in November of 1991. After a year, a full-time position came up in administration and I became the account clerk,” she said. “It was scary getting back into the workforce, as my youngest child was nine years old at the time, so as with any working mom you have to deal with daycare and after-school things, but from the moment I walked into the library for my interview, it was like love at first sight.”
After serving as account clerk for 10 years, Brenner progressed to administrative assistant, which put her in charge of the library’s administration office. In addition, she worked extensively with the library’s administration and board of trustees. And five years ago, when Barbara Kessler was put in charge of the library, Brenner was promoted to assistant director became Kessler’s right-hand woman.
Serving with distinction while in her many roles over the years and going to school on the side to earn her master’s degree in library science, Brenner was recommended by Kessler to the library board to succeed her upon her retirement, and with their full support—as well as the support of her co-workers—Brenner began her tenure as the new director of the Jericho Public Library on Nov. 28, 2015.
Brenner is currently the acting director while the necessary paperwork goes through Nassau County. When that formality is completed, she will be the library’s full-fledged director, she said, although in the time being she possesses all the powers—and responsibilities—that go along with this important position. At the moment Brenner said there are no plans to assign a new assistant director to serve under her.
As for her predecessor, Brenner noted that Kessler’s five-year term as director ushered in a great deal of progress for the library—progress that Brenner said she hopes to continue to maintain and push forward during her tenure.
“Barbara accomplished so much here in the last five years, especially in terms of new technology,” she said. “Serving as assistant director and working with Barbara and the board of trustees so closely for five years has given me a lot of experience for my new position.”
In terms of her direction for the library, Brenner noted that she would like to continue its emphasis in recent years on being on the cutting-edge of technology and on services and programs provided to patrons. In addition, she would like to see more comfortable seating areas made available for people looking to either study, work or even just lounge about while reading magazines.
But Brenner said that her main goal is to get people informed about all their local library offers and to more residents—especially in the pre-teen and teen categories—to come on down and make the most of the free services and programs in they have available to them.
“We’re one of the leading libraries in Nassau as far as the technology that we offer to the public and going forward, I would like to keep moving with the technology and to stay with the latest,” she said. “The staff here does such a wonderful job and I really appreciate all their hard work in making the Jericho library such a success.”
It’s rare that someone gets the chance to do something that they love for a living. In that respect, Brenner said that she counts herself extremely lucky for putting in her time at the Jericho library and rising up through the ranks over the years. It’s an opportunity she said she plans to avail herself of to the utmost degree.
“Being the director is sometimes like a dream,” she said. “I can’t believe, starting out part-time and going to school to get my master’s, and now I’m here. It’s thrilling.”