Tonawanda News — If you've ever stopped in the North Tonawanda Public Library, you most likely have seen Peggy Waite walking about, talking with patrons and children, and living her love of the library.
Waite, one of only seven directors the library has seen in its more than 115 years, joined the library in 1975 as part-time children’s librarian. She was later named full-time children’s librarian, then assistant director, and, in 2004, director following the retirement of Dan Killian. She will retire in late August, completing nine years as head of the library.
The soft-spoken Waite is quick to say that, to her, being the director means working with staff.
"This staff has been with me every step of the way no matter what the project," Waite smiled.
Becky Stutzman, head of the children's library and a 21-year staff member, concurs.
"We're a close family. Peggy has cultivated relationships. We're very lucky here as she's added to the family relationships. She has personal qualities in spades and I don't know what we'll do without her," Stutzman said.
Stutzman explained that Waite is also a mentor to her and other staff members.
"She's always encouraged me to 'run with it' when a new idea or program is offered," Stutzman said.
Waite, who is quick to give credit for the library's success to her staff, the board of directors, the Friends of the Library and patrons, said she is torn about retiring.
"I know it's time to retire, but it's hard to walk away," Waite said.
The librarian's memories range from helping to shelve the thousands of books from the former library when the new library opened in 1975 to the latest renovation when the library was refurbished.
"There were books on every surface," she recalled. "Luckily the patrons had a sense of humor and the staff worked so hard."