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Hollidaysburg library mainstay sets sights on borough

Ramsey takes over as community relations and events director

Melanie Ramsey, Hollidaysburg Borough’s new director of community relations and events, talks with a vendor during the Hollidaysburg Farmers Market. Ramsey is taking on a new role after 20 years as director of Youth and Children’s Services at the Hollidaysburg Public Library. Mirror photo by Patrick Waksmunski

After 20 years as director of Youth and Children’s Services at the Hollidaysburg Area Public Library, Melanie Ramsey is finding new ways to serve and enrich her community as the new director of community relations and events for the Borough of Hollidaysburg.

Raised in Hollidaysburg, Ramsey grew up surrounded by books. Her grandmother was the librarian at the former Spangler library, a place of colorful chairs, activity tables and a warm environment. She spent her childhood years captivated by that atmosphere.

After college, Ramsey worked as a music teacher for five years but left to assume the Hollidaysburg library position in 2001.

During her library tenure, Ramsey said she enriched the library’s programming and made it “a reflection of the community the library serves.”

Her new opportunity with the borough arose when Katrina Pope left for a position with the Centre County Recycling and Refuse Authority. Ramsey’s skills at event planning and relationship-building will be used to benefit a wider community in her new position, which she assumed in May.

Ramsey’s focus is on “learning more about the new position and its responsibilities, and to meet the high standard of programming set by Katrina Pope.”

“Melanie will do great at her new job because she is passionate about the community, resourceful, and a connector of all things,” Pope said.

“Melanie was outstanding at the library,” Mayor Joe Dodson said. “She’s the perfect person with a lot of energy, personality and ingenuity. She’s a great fit and a great hire.”

Ramsey’s library colleagues wish her well in her future.

“Melanie is as colorful a character as you will find in any book,” said Janet Eldred, the executive director of the library. She explained that “Miss

Melanie” leaving will be a big change for the kids, but “everyone at the library is excited for her in her new position.”

Over the years, Ramsey said she saw the library grow into what is considered a “third place” — a place that is not home or work, but another area where a person chooses to spend their time — to ease problems, to find peace and quiet, enjoy family or alone time, use computers and the internet or have random questions answered.

Ramsey emphasizes the power of reading and how it can enrich people of all ages. Storytime was one of her favorite activities because it made everyone — children and the accompanying adults — feel welcome and excited.

In the library, everyone is a child in one way or another.

Ramsey said, “Storytimes are just as important for the grownups as they are for the kids.” Children hear new stories, explore creative crafts and spend time with their grownup, while the adults have a chance to connect with other parents, create friendships and share useful information.

Parent and frequent library visitor Cory Geishauser of Altoona describes Ramsey as “perhaps the most welcoming human I have ever met,” noting that “her energy is incredible and her intelligence is just astounding.”

To Ramsey, local events held in the library bind the community together, something she will continue in her new position.

At the library, Ramsey planned, organized and hosted NASA educational programming, science partnerships with Saint Francis University, local history presentations, WPSU character visits, a baby goat petting zoo, eclipse viewings and sweater drives with Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood’s Mr. McFeely.

The events “organically grew through relationships in the community,” Ramsey said.

“I absolutely enjoyed every bit of my time at the library. I enjoy serving people in the community, and I’m glad that in my new job, I can continue to do that.”

The Ramsey File

Name: Melanie Ramsey

Age: 50

Residence: Hollidaysburg

Family: Herself and her two cats, Bippy and Bunbun

Education: Bachelor’s degree in music education from the Indiana University of Pennsylvania

Employment: Director of Community Relations and Events, Borough of Hollidaysburg

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