Have you met Della Smith? Della is a full-time library assistant at the Blue Ridge branch, where she has worked for 15 years. Della works mainly at the circulation desk, assisting patrons in person and by phone and email. She also leads a monthly LEGO Club, where she enjoys getting to know the young patrons while they build unique creations. Della says, “I love interacting with the kids most of all. I love helping them to grow up with a love of libraries and books.”
Before working at the library, Della graduated from Radford University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Early Childhood Education. Della taught in elementary schools for eleven years—the first two years in Page County, and then nine years in Salem City Schools. When asked why she made a career change, Della replied, “I chose not to work outside the home when our girls, Jennifer and Sara, were young. As they got older and I felt ready to return to work, I learned of a job opening at the Blue Ridge Library, just minutes from our house. I had loved taking my girls to a weekly story time and checking out books there. The library had a friendly, small town feel that drew me in.”
It’s quite evident that the library is where Della is meant to be. She enthusiastically stated, “I love working at the library. It’s so much more than just checking items in and out and shelving books. It’s learning something new every day. It’s getting to know the people who come in and hearing their experiences. It’s getting to connect with people one-on-one and building some lasting relationships. It’s being there to help readers find a book they want, to help students research for projects, and to help people with their information and technology needs. It’s getting to help make the library a good place for families to bring their children and have fun while learning.”
Della was born and raised in Bath County. She spent most of her childhood helping out in her Aunt Della’s general store, which is where she developed her love of working with people. Della and her husband Randy currently live in the Steeplechase subdivision in Botetourt County, where they have resided for the past 27 years. In her spare time, Della loves to hike, travel, take pictures, play the guitar, and, of course, read. Her favorite types of books are ones that have a unique plot with lots of character development. Two of her favorite books are “The Nightingale” by Kristin Hannah and “Where the Crawdads Sing” by Delia Owens.
Della would like to pass along the message – “All of us at the library miss being with all of you at this time of staying at home. We look forward to the time when we can be together again. Until then, please stay safe and well! If you would like help learning to download e-books or audiobooks, please email or call us.” Della would love for you to stop by and introduce yourself when the library reopens!