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Sallade Closes Book On Rock Hill Library

Karyn Applegate hired as director to replace Kelley Sallade who is retiring after 30 years

Long-time Rock Hill Library patron Teresa Bowling, left, visits with Library Director Kelley Sallade, who will retire on March 28. photo by Diana Linsley (click for larger version)
March 21, 2014
What Rock Hill Public Library lacks in size it makes up in friendly, personal service.

That personal touch is what Director Kelley Sallade has strived to achieve in her 30 years at the library at 9811 Manchester Road. On March 28, Sallade will retire, turning over the institution she's nurtured to a new director, Karyn Applegate.

A public reception is planned for March 28 at the library from noon to 6 p.m. Library patrons are invited to say goodbye to Sallade and to say hello to Applegate.

Sallade began working at the library part-time in 1982 when it was located inside City Hall. In December 1984, she took over as director. At that time, the library consisted of a full-time director and three part-timers. Today, along with Sallade, the library has a staff of seven part-time people.

"For many of us who live in Rock Hill, she's the only library director we've ever had there," said John Shoulberg, resident since 1988 and a member of the library's board of trustees for 10-plus years.

"In the last 10 years alone, the library has moved twice, and she's soldiered through each move with a strong vision of how the library can always be better," he said. "Even in times of lean budgets (which is, frankly, all the time for a public library), she's managed to simultaneously focus on serving the public and supporting the staff, all while insisting that the library's collection be constantly refreshed."

In 30 years, Sallade has witnessed a lot of changes, probably the greatest is the way technology has changed libraries.

"The library has really been on the cutting edge of technology as far as the public is concerned," Sallade said. "When I started (working at the library), people came to the library to check out a book."

She said now they come to use the computers or bring their own laptop for the library's wireless service. They also attend storytime and other special programing plus they can still check out a book, along with magazines and DVDs.

Sallade noted that the library's circulation is up 3 to 4 percent from last year. That includes books, magazines, DVDs and ebooks.


Under Sallade's guidance, the library has moved twice in the last 10 years. In 2005, it was forced to move from its long-time home at City Hall when that building made way for the Market at McKnight development. On Jan. 4, 2006, it moved temporarily to Colonial Square Shopping Center at 9741 Manchester Road. On July 16, 2012, the library moved to its permanent home at 9811 Manchester Road.

Sallade is proud of her role in establishing Rock Hill Library as one of nine libraries in the Municipal Library Consortium.

"It's a great benefit to all patrons of the library district," Sallade said. As part of the consortium, books not available at one member library can be ordered and delivered to the requesting library.

The personal service Rock Hill Library offers is one of Sallade's greatest accomplishments, according to Board President Jennifer Weihl

"She loves the library and the community it serves," said Weihl, a resident for 10 years and on the board for five years. "She has gone above and beyond to serve patrons in countless ways over the years."

In Good Hands

Sallade said she's leaving the library in good hands.

"We have a lot of staff that's been here for a long time," Sallade said. "They are dedicated to the patrons and the library. My position is changing, but they are the backbone of the library.

Applegate, of Webster Groves, will be a good addition, Sallade said.

"She brings with her a great passion for reading, a wonderful enthusiasm for libraries and a desire to get the community connected to the library," said Weihl.

Applegate has a bachelor's degree in political science and a master's in library and information science, both from the University of Illinois. She was previously director of the public library in Tuscola, Ill., which was about the same size as Rock Hill.

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