Monday, November 26, 2007

Bealeton community to meet new branch library manager

Fauquier County Public Library staff and patrons are preparing to meet the new Bealeton Library Branch Manager Natalie Swart, formerly of Lilburn, Ga.

Swart, who begins her duties Monday, Dec. 3, is replacing Muriel McCabe, who retired last summer after nearly 20 years with the county's library system, 16 of which were served as the Bealeton Library's manager.

"I'm really excited about coming," Swart says, "everyone is so gracious, the Bealeton Library is beautiful and I'm looking forward to the job."

She received an undergraduate degree in history from the University of Georgia and a masters in library science from Drexel University in Philadelphia. She most recently served as a branch manager for the Gwinnett County library system in Georgia, in a busy branch serving 20,000 people a month. The Bealeton Library averages 5,300 patron visits each month.

Swart served on a variety of library committees for Gwinnett County, including several concerned with long-term planning, community programming, technology acquisitions, and community analysis. This experience helped prepare her for managing the Bealeton Library, a community library serving a diverse and supportive population. She believes strongly, she says, that the library should be an important part of the community.

“We’re very excited to have Natalie join our staff," says Library Director Maria Del Rosso, "We are impressed with her experience and her enthusiasm for the role a public library plays in the community.”

Swart says she is also a public service oriented person. Her plans for the library include working in collaboration with schools, businesses, and civic organizations. She intends to canvass the community and speak to a variety of groups to ascertain their needs soon after arriving in Virginia.

"The role of the library in the community is connecting people with information," Swart says, "it can provide whatever it is we are searching for."

But Swart says she is also interested in individuals' needs and believes the library should be a place people can enjoy in a variety of ways.

"I see the library as a place of wonder," she says, "As a kid I felt that way, and I think we still have the ability to provide that kind of place."

This vested interest in community is a major reason that Swart accepted the job as Bealeton Library's branch manager. Family ties are another factor playing an important role in Swart's decision to relocate to Fauquier County. Her husband Jon Swart graduated from Fauquier High School in 1993. His parents, Ruth and Dick Young, live in Marshall while his brother and sister-in-law Jason and Wendy Swart live in Warrenton.

A perfect opportunity for meeting Swart will occur on Saturday, Dec. 8, after the Bealeton parade. The parade route begins and ends near the library. Parade awards will be presented at the library afterward and everyone is invited to meet library staff and warm up while becoming acquainted, or reacquainted, with the library.