Children’s librarian promoted to OPL director

Published 9:37 pm Monday, March 30, 2015

Courtney Smart recently became director of Opp’s Public Library. | Andrew Garner/Star-News

Courtney Smart recently became director of Opp’s Public Library. | Andrew Garner/Star-News

Courtney Smart loves her job.

That love will continue as the Opp resident recently was named the director of the Opp Public Library.

Smart grew up in Opp and graduated from Opp High School in 2005. In 2013, she was hired by Gayle Clare to be the library’s children’s director, a position she holds in addition to being director. Clare passed away in April 2014 after a battle with cancer.

Smart replaces former OPL director Michael Mitchell, who left recently.

As children’s director, Smart was in charge of the children’s book collection and the summer reading program, which is the library’s largest program.

Every week, Smart visits daycares around town, where she reads stories and holds craft time with kids.

Smart said she had no idea that she’d get the position as she was one of many who applied for the vacancy.

“I am extremely grateful to get the position,” she said.

Smart said she wants to build the library’s modern and Christian fiction sections.

“We already have a wonderful collection, but some of the newer stuff we’re lacking in,” she said.

Smart said she is planning to create a catalogue for nursing homes and assisted living facilities and to deliver books there once a week.

“I haven’t gotten any of that started, yet,” she said. “I also was considering doing a home schooling program for kids every week. There are a lot more now than there used to be.”

Smart said she’ll treat the home-schooling program the same way she does her daycare program, with story-reading and craft time.

Smart has lived in Opp since she was 8-9 years old, and has been into books since she can remember.

“I’ve always read, but I actually had not been in this library just a few months before I got hired here,” she said with a smile. “I didn’t know much about it, and that’s one thing we need is to get the word out that it’s here. It’s available.”

Smart said the OPL has a great collection and even eBooks to check out.

Smart said she feels pretty comfortable because she knows the lay of the land.

“I love it here now,” she said. “I’m very excited about getting the programs started and getting more people in here to see what we have. When Gayle hired me a couple years ago, I just fell in love with the library, and I want to see it grow. I plan on being here for many years to come.”

Smart has a 2-year-old daughter, Carley, and is engaged to Cory Wallace, also of Opp.