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Longtime librarian looking to check out

El Dorado Hills Library branch manager retiring at end of March
By: Laura Newell Telegraph staff writer
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The library in El Dorado Hills is about to lose a mainstay of the institution. Susan Covington, 66, of Placerville has been the branch manager of the El Dorado Hills Branch Library for more than four years and is preparing for retirement effective March 31. “The best part has been working with a phenomenal staff and the people that support us are incredible,” Covington said. Many staff members said Covington was an asset to the library. “It’s been a pleasure and she’ll be greatly missed,” said Barbara Garcia-Evans, circulation supervisor. The library was originally a joint-use library with Oak Ridge High School and opened the current location at 7455 Silva Valley Parkway in El Dorado Hills in February 2006. “The library has enjoyed terrific support from all areas,” Covington said. “There are a lot of reasons why this library is so successful.” Covington makes $28.34 per hour, or slightly less than $59,000 per year, in her current position with El Dorado County, said Mike Applegarth, principal administration analyst for El Dorado County. Applegarth was unaware at this time of the salary plans for the incoming branch manager. Covington said since 2006, the number of cardholders jumped from 9,400 in 2006 to 18,000 in 2010. She also said book checkouts are three times what they were since 2006. “I think the community support for the library to be built (was) tremendous … so we knew there were a lot of people in support of the building,” Covington said. During her time as branch manager, the library has provided a variety of programs and events for the community. Currently, there are seven story times each week, which is an interactive program for children and parents. There are also numerous community events at the library including the popular pirate festival. Other programs include after school activities, adult speaker series and an adult book club. “My role in this was to stand back and let this phenomenal staff go for it,” Covington said. “I’ve been very fortunate to work with motivated people in this community, so it made my job easy and fun.” Covington has two children, Courtney, 29, and Chris, 26, and her husband of 40 years, Woody. She lives on a 40-acre farm with wine grapes, plums and cherries, she said. “My husband and I wanted some time to travel and have more time to enjoy together,” she said on her reason for retiring. “We are planning to drive to Alaska this summer.” Still, Covington said she hopes the future growth of the library is positive with the new branch manager, Carolyn Brooks. Brooks has been with the library for four years. “The library has nowhere to go but up,” Covington said. “We will continue to thrive in the community. I know together the library will become an even more vital part of this community.” She said a lot of the library’s success is given to Friends of the Library volunteers. “They provide more than $40,000 every year for buying books and providing funds for programs,” Covington said. “We truly could not have enjoyed the growth of our library without this group and their fundraising.” Nora Bertotti has been with the El Dorado County library for 10 years and watched Covington come into action in El Dorado Hills. “It was a pleasure having her come on board, she brought out the best of all of our staff,” Bertotti said. “We have so many talented people and she utilized that. As a manager she brought both adults and children programs to this community.” Sandra Kelsey has worked at the library for five years. “Susan has done so much for this library, but her largest impact has been her ability to make everyone feel like they are a part of the library and that it is their library — whether you donate money, are volunteering or visiting,” Kelsey said. For more information on the El Dorado Hills Branch Library, call (916) 358-3500 or visit eldoradolibrary.org. * * * El Dorado Hills Branch Library Where: 7455 Silva Valley Parkway, El Dorado Hills Hours: Monday noon to 5 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday noon to 7 p.m. Thursday, Friday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday noon to 5 p.m. Closed Sunday Phone: (916) 358-3500 Website: eldorado-library.org.