Director catalogs years of changes, library nostalgia.
WESTBORO - Carolyn M. Delude still gets nostalgic sometimes about the old days, when there was the trusty card catalog.
"Everyone has nostalgia," she said, "except the people who had to make the cards and file them."
The card catalog, and just about everything else, have since gone digital.
Ms. Delude, in her 29 years at the Westboro Public Library, including the last 27 as library director, has overseen the modernization of the library. She is retiring June 30, leaving behind a public center of information that has many more titles and many more users than it did when she started working there.
These days, people don't come just for books; they come for CDs, DVDs and to use the wireless Internet service.
"The technology changes have been huge," said Ms. Delude, 63, of Worcester. "When I came here, if we didn't own a book, we used to type out a form (on a typewriter) and mail it and wait to hear from another library."
A response often didn't come for weeks.
Now, all of that information is on line. No forms needed.
Some 15,000 Westboro residents - out of a total of about 18,000 - have library cards.
The library now houses 91,000 titles, almost double the 46,000 titles that were available in 1984.
Ms. Delude said she has worked to keep the library's collection well rounded. She said Westboro was one of the first libraries in the area to stay open on Sundays. She's also proud of the many cultural programs now offered at the library.
In recent years, she has overseen a staff of about 21 employees, most of them part time, and a budget of about $886,000.
"I'm very proud of our staff," she said. "They're very accomplished, they're very enthusiastic. Many of them live in town and take a lot of pride in the library."
Ms. Delude didn't always know she would be a librarian; her first career was as a social worker.
She said she's looking forward to the free time that retirement will offer, but, of course, she'll continue to visit libraries.
The Trustees of the Westboro Public Library have interviewed two finalists and will hire one of them shortly, according to Patricia J. Fontes, chairwoman of the trustees.
Ms. Fontes, a school librarian at Nashoba Regional High School, has known Ms. Delude for 25 years.
"She brought automation, the wireless technology, added computers to the library and has just done a bang-up job," Ms. Fontes said. "That's an enormous undertaking."
Apart from a new director, the library may be in line for other changes. The trustees are exploring possible renovations to the building on their long-range plan, Ms. Fontes said.
The original library building, which faces West Main Street, was built in 1908. A large wing that includes the children's room was added in 1981.
CUTLINE: Ms. Delude