East Albemarle Regional Library Director, Dare County Librarian Jonathan Wark announces retirement

[Courtesy Dare County Library Facebook]

After nearly 25 years with Dare County, Jonathan Wark, East Albemarle Regional Library (EARL) Director and Dare County Librarian, announced his retirement date of August 31, 2023.

During his tenure, Jonathan oversaw tremendous change within the world of libraries, a struggling publishing industry, and the ups and downs of a turbulent economy while always keeping the Dare County Library innovative, relevant and accessible to local community members. He worked with local government to renovate and expand the Hatteras Library, introduced eBooks and eAudioBooks into the library system, and tirelessly traveled many miles to keep the four counties of EARL working smoothly as a unit to the benefit of northeastern North Carolina residents. Jonathan served on the Dare Literacy Council and Manteo Rotary, and as chairman of the Children & Youth Partnership for Dare County.

A message from Jonathan Wark:

“It has been my honor to serve as the Dare County Librarian for the last 24 years.  Before retirement – I hope you’ll indulge me – I started working in public libraries in 1979. Small public libraries such as the one I worked in were not yet automated; we were pretty much doing everything in the early 80s as they have been done for decades.

“Throughout my career – three public libraries in Massachusetts, one in Connecticut and here – the one constant has been change. Our first Apple II+ computer for public use, converting from card catalog to online catalog, a dial-up 28.8 connection to the internet. Broadband and GUI (graphical user Interface), books on cassette, VHS tapes, the rise of Amazon and Google, lending eBooks and eAudios. What hasn’t changed is why we are here and how we hope to serve you.

“The public library is an outrageously, surprisingly democratic institution; we exist to serve everyone in our community equally and fairly, no matter their background or station in life. When someone enters our buildings, we don’t ask them why they are here. Meeting the informational, educational and recreational needs of a diverse community isn’t easy, but it is something we are committed to.

“Almost since the day I arrived here I have had this quote on the door of my office – it’s from Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1953:

The libraries of America are and must ever remain the home of free and inquiring minds. To them, our citizens – of all ages and races, of all creeds and persuasions – must be able to turn with clear confidence that there they can freely seek the whole truth, unvarnished by fashion and uncompromised by expediency.

“My sincere appreciation to all of the library staff I have had over these many years, for their talent and dedication in making our library a place where the staff are seen as friendly, knowledgeable and helpful.

“I also wish to express my sincere appreciation to my county manager, Mr. Bobby Outten, and the many commissioners and library board members I have worked with. Lastly, a big thanks to you – we have the greatest library customers here in Dare County! I’ve genuinely enjoyed providing library service to you for all of these years.”

Jonathan’s insight, experience, sense of humor and wisdom will be dearly missed.

Kim Perry, Pasquotank County Librarian, will take the position of East Albemarle Regional Library Director while Meaghan L. Beasley, Dare County Reference Librarian, will step into the role of County Librarian and serve as Head of the Dare County Library.