A changing of the guard at Whittemore

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Joselyn Miller, left, succeeded Joan Lamb as director of the Howard Whittemore Memorial Library in Naugatuck. LARAINE WESCHLER
NAUGATUCK — Retiring Howard Whittemore Memorial Library Director Joan Lamb waved her necklace at well-wishers at her retirement party last Thursday. The sparkly lei said, “Happy Retirement,” and Lamb certainly took that to heart.

After 32 years at Whittemore, including 27 years as director, Lamb is stepping away from the bookshelves and on to her boat, where she hopes to spend most of her time.

“Now, I’m going off into the sunset,” Lamb said.

During her tenure as library director, Lamb oversaw the conversion of the library to a digital filing system from the old card catalogs, brought in the internet and modern technology, and renovated the building, according to her husband, David Lamb.

“She has worked very hard to make it a very welcoming, friendly library,” he said.

Bill Hoss, a member of the Library Board of Trustees, said Lamb always had a good connection with the Whittemore family, which donated the building to the town in the late 1800s.

“I’ve been here since before she became the director and I think she’s done an excellent job while she was here,” Hoss said.

Joselyn Miller replaced Lamb as the library’s new director.

Miller started her librarian career in 1984 at the Oliver Wolcott Library in Litchfield before moving on to work for the Regional Library Cooperative from 1985 to 2003.

Since then, Miller has been working as a part-time reference librarian at Naugatuck, Middlebury, and Southbury libraries as well as the Naugatuck Valley Community College.

While working with the co-op, Miller said she visited many libraries throughout Connecticut and learned how each of them ran, information she hopes to put to good use in Naugatuck.

She said one of her main goals it to increase community outreach and draw people of different ethnicities into the library through different programs.

Miller said she wants to publicize the library’s electronic books, which patrons can download from the library’s website.

“The library is keeping up with modern technology,” Miller said.

Miller said the library has been extremely busy lately.

“As the economy gets worse, more and more people come to libraries,” Miller said.

Those without work use the library’s resources to search for jobs and fax resumes to prospective employers, she said. Others are more likely to borrow books instead of buy them.

Even in the age of the internet, libraries still have a place in people’s lives, Miller said.

“Librarians can help people find information more efficiently,” she said.