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Getting to Know…
Library Branch Manager Patti Hall

By Betty Cianci

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Patti Hall

Since October 9, Patti Hall has been branch manager of the Worcester County Library, Ocean Pines Branch.  However the Ocean Pines library is not new territory for Patti since she has been assistant branch manager since November 1999, prior to the library's official opening in early 2000.

Patti is an Eastern Shore native born in Cambridge, MD, and her "roots" run deeply in this area.   Her grandfather built skipjacks, party boats, and work boats in Wingate, located in South Dorchester County, MD.    Her dad followed into that profession and built and operated his own skipjack.  Patti grew up not only with the love of local waterways in her veins but also with a love of flying since her dad owned a J3 Cub airplane and Patti flew regularly with him.

After graduation from Wesley College in Dover, DE with an Associates degree, Patti attended Salisbury State University where she received a Bachelors Degree in Biology.  After graduation Patti worked for several years at the Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge until the lure of aviation caught up with her.

Patti became a flight attendant and also an in-flight trainer with U.S. Airways.  Patti's vivacious personality and high concern for customer service made her an outstanding employee with patrons, particularly those who flew frequently with her into Salisbury Ocean City Wicomico Regional Airport in Salisbury.  When asked about notables that she had met during her years of flying, Patti mentioned celebrities Julia Child, Peter Arnet, Brooks Robinson, Howie Mandel, and regular flyers Spiro Agnew and Frank Purdue.

After a number of years as a flight attendant Patti decided it was time for a change.  However, her criterion for a new position was still one of customer contact and service.  Working at the Ocean Pines library was the answer to her search. 

Since Patti began working at the library, she has seen fast growth. Originally the staff started with five employees and now has 12 due to increased patron demand.  In October 2007, patron usage was recorded at 10,000 along with having 12,000 circulated items.

When asked about the library's goals, Patti said its mission statement sums it up as,  " promoting reading, thinking, learning and enjoyment of the arts and enhancing the quality of life in Worcester County."  These goals are well underway along with new programs for teens. The library has begun after hour teen surfing on the internet on Wednesday evenings from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.  The teens, under supervision of the library staff, can surf or play games on the internet or simply relax and read on the new sofa and chairs, courtesy of The Friends of the Ocean Pines Library.  Another new teen program entitled, "Poetry for Teens" is underway that will instill writing skills and enjoyment of poetry.  A bonus for the library is that a number of teens are volunteering for jobs, such as filing DVDs or CDs.  In October 2007, the teens performed 72 hours of service.  Their work in the library also attracts other teens to volunteer.

The Story Time programs for tots and pre-kindergarten children are well attended, as well as afternoon and evening programs for adults.  Other services provided by the library are Books by Mail for shut-ins, plus a large selection of DVDs and updated CDs.   Patrons should consult the calendar of special events at the circulation desk.

Patti also spoke of invaluable help received from The Friends of the Ocean Pines Library.  This group not only provides volunteers (in October 2007 they logged in  280 hours) but they have raised funds through book sales, etc, allowing the library to make purchases not allocated in its budget such as an aquarium for Sophie, the terrapin, a new circulation desk, furniture for the teen area,  and cleaning equipment for DVDs and CDs.

As mentioned Ocean Pines library is the home of Sophie, the 5 ½ year old terrapin that could not be returned to the sea due to shell deformity.   Patti has been primary care-giver and through advice from Marguerite Whilden of the Terrapin Institute, Sophie is thriving and even laid seven eggs.   Patti also mentioned that local turtle enthusiast John Freeberger built a new platform for Sophie's tank plus donating a plecoptomus, or algae eater.

When asked about job stress Patti happily answers, "I'm doing a job I thoroughly enjoy and we have a great staff that focuses on serving the community.  That's what makes it all work."    

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Uploaded: 11/27/2007