Granville library director stepping down

Mar. 25, 2014 @ 07:01 PM

Tresia Dodson’s tenure as director of the Granville County Library System was marked by a major expansion in the system.

William Pittard, chairman of the library board of trustees, said Dodson had done a lot of work to expand libraries in the county.

“We went from a library with a couple of sub-stations to a system with four libraries, 12 full-time employees and nine part-time employees,” he said.

But all good things must come to an end, and Dodson will retire Monday.

“Thank you,” Pittard said to Dodson. “You’ve brought leadership and expertise to the operation of the library. If you have a legacy, it would be the expansion of the library system.”

He presented Dodson with a gift from the board of trustees.

For her part, Dodson said she enjoyed working with the community.

“From 1963 to the present, the community has said, ‘Libraries are important,’ ” she said. “It’s been a pleasure working with you.”

Dodson has been director of the library system since 2007. In the following year, Granville County voters approved an $8 million bond issue to expand library facilities.

Granville County commissioner Zelodis Jay described the growth of the library system after the bond issue passed.

“The library here grew and we built new ones in Stovall and in the southern part of the county and upgraded Berea,” Jay said.

The system now includes the Richard H. Thornton Library in Oxford and branches in Stovall, Creedmoor and Berea.

Martha Morton, a member of the board of trustees from Oxford, said, Dodson was a great leader for the libraries.

“She did an excellent job presiding over getting the four library branches in shape after the bond passed,” she said.

Pittard said Dodson continued to think of ways to improve services. She approached the board with a proposal to expand outreach. A mobile library was rejected because of the cost, particularly personnel costs. As an alternative, Dodson suggested express libraries, which would consist of kiosks and boxes a patron could access with a library card. Express libraries are now located at Wilton and Oak Hill, parts of the county that are somewhat remote from any of the library buildings.

The Granville system was the first in North Carolina to institute express libraries, Pittard said.

Individual trustees described how the library system intersects their life stories.

“I grew up with the Oxford Library,” Morton said. “I went to story time here.”

Kenneth Moss, a trustee from Oxford, said his job as a teen with the library made a big impact on him.

“My first job was with the library when I was 13 years old,” he said. “I made enough to buy my first car. I never thought I’d be on the board.”

Victoria Ramsay, a member of Friends of the Library from Wilbourns, said, “Every time I have been in there, she has helped me. If I was looking for something, she showed me where it was. She didn’t just tell me where it was. She’s always available. She’s very, very gracious.”

Dodson grew up in Kansas. She received a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Southwestern College at Winfield and a master of library science from Emporia State University.

Before coming to North Carolina, she was library director in Winfield, Kansas. She also was library director in Burke County, North Carolina, prior to accepting the position with the Granville County Library System.

Dodson has two grown children, a son who is an architect in Seattle, Wash., and a daughter who is a grant writer and coordinator for an organization in Asheville.

“I have no firm plans,” she said of her retirement.

But one part of her plan is firm. She plans to remain in Oxford. And she’ll be able to use the library system that serves the county so well.

“The library system is the crown jewel of our county,” Morton said, giving Dodson credit for her role in its development. “It’s our greatest asset.”

 

Contact the writer at dirvine@hendersondispatch.com.