By Anna-Marie Menhenott
MARTIN COUNTY -- When Judi Snyder began working as a library page 34 years ago, things were a lot different.
Advances in technology, different needs from the community and changes in how books are cataloged, organized and classified have adjusted life at the library, but one thing has remained the same for Ms. Snyder, her love of books.
"When I started working for the library it was after hurricane David came through the area," said Ms. Snyder. "A chain of events and love of books ended with me becoming a library page. Years later, I still love books, but I'm working with them in a different capacity."
Ms. Snyder is retiring Aug. 3 as the current Community Libraries Manager with the Martin County Library System. She has filled many positions during her time with MCLS. Beginning as a library page shelving books in 1979, she worked her way up to Library Manager in 1999.
From there she became Associate Director for Library Public Services in 2005, and in 2012 was named Community Libraries Manager.
Her pet projects are the annual BookMania! festival and Chautauqua South arts and education series.
"My crowning achievement was not only creating BookMania!, but being responsible for producing an event that achieved national recognition for the Martin County Library System," said Ms. Snyder. "Similarly, Chautauqua South is an amazing cultural and educational addition to our library system. It is truly a 'Celebration of the Mind, Body and Spirit.'"
As the library's events calendar grew, so did the library's national reputation. Under her direction and longtime creative partnership with the late Phil Kavanaugh, library stages were filled with exciting performers and international festivals.
"Because I'm such a reader, having authors at the library was a real treat for me. I loved the people and will keep in touch with all of them," Ms. Snyder said.
On June 28, a retirement gathering in Ms. Snyder's honor took place in the John F. Armstrong Wing of the Blake Library in Stuart.
"There is nowhere in the world I would have rather worked," said Ms. Snyder.
"But now, I'm going to enjoy shutting my alarm off, taking vacations and spending time with my grandchildren. And reading, of course."
To learn more about the Martin County Library System, call (772) 221-1403 or visit www.library.martin.fl.us.