New director set to start on Aug. 20
When Christine Edwins completes her first day as Hicksville Library Director on Aug. 20, it will be a sort of homecoming for her. The Locust Valley native’s father not only grew up in the community, but her in-laws also called it home for a long time. Edwins is coming off an eight-year stint as Bayville Public Library Director and is eager to get started in her new position.
“It’s a big move and I’m excited about it because I feel like it’s exactly what I’m looking for right now as far as more involvement with the community and more advances with technology and what we can offer,” Edwins said. “It’s such a special time right now too. It’s kind of hard to say what’s going to come of the future, but I think there’s a lot of opportunity out there.”
A lifelong library lover dating back to childhood, the C.W. Post alum worked her way up through the system as a librarian with a focus on children and young adult services, assisting the community with reference help and using her fresh take on library services on the planning and implementation of new programs. She applied that passion to serve the community by building a number of generational bridges that included her hiring a full-time Children’s Room librarian (“You had one person on staff that could bring the community in at birth”), starting a well-received yoga program (“We’re up to nearly six classes a week and nearly every one of them is full”) and founding a teen advisory group (“I really wanted to open the library up as a place where they can feel comfortable and come because I did as a teenager.”) Edwins also used a grant to hire a woman to start a bilingual outreach program that eventually became an entrenched and well-received facet of the Bayville Library. It’s an experience that was enlightening for Edwins and one she feels will serve her well in Hicksville.
“Obviously every community has diversity somewhere, whether or not they know it,” she said. “I realized how valuable it was to be able to keep that relationship going with the non-English-speaking community and to work with the schools to make sure that these people realize that this is a resource for them and their community and whatever they may need. I very much enjoy history, so I’m very excited to learn about the history of the Hicksville community, where it is today and what their challenges are today.”
As the director of the Bayville Free Library, Edwins oversaw the library budget, reduced costs through grants, maintained and updated the library collection and forged relationships with community partners through outreach efforts. All of this gibes with Edwins’ firm belief that a public library is a crucial linchpin for whatever community it serves and is a philosophy she’ll bring to her new position.
“The library is an absolute central part of the resources for every part of the community,” she said. “I feel like a lot of people don’t even realize those resources are there and that they’re technically already paying for them, so they may as well take advantage of them. Plus it’s a service to the community, so you want to see what they’re looking for, make it work, see what works, see what doesn’t and make everybody happy.”
Visit www.hicksvillelibrary.org to find out more about the Hicksville Public Library.