[Posted December 3, 2021; Updated December 7, 2021]
Jay Hadley, branch manager of the Hillsdale Library for the past five and a half years, has taken a new assignment at the Fairview branch of the Multnomah County Library system. His replacement, Patti Vincent, officially stepped into the role on November 8.
Vincent comes to Hillsdale after more than 22 years at the Capitol Hill Library. She expects a smooth transition, saying, “I’ve been working in this region for so long, and so closely with Jay over the years, Hillsdale really felt like a second home. The only thing strange about being in Hillsdale is that Jay’s not here.”
There’s a lot of crossover in patrons between the Capitol Hill and Hillsdale branches, Vincent points out, so she recognizes many of the same faces at her new location.
While there are similarities in the clientele, Vincent characterizes Hillsdale as more of a regional branch because of its location, close to many bus lines and within easy reach of several other neighborhoods. With a larger building, Hillsdale has a larger collection and more staff (15 at the moment, with a few empty positions yet to fill). Capitol Hill houses a Somali collection while Hillsdale hosts a Russian collection.
Vincent had no plans to leave Capitol Hill, but holes in the management structure meant that there was quite a bit of movement of staff among different positions. Hillsdale will mark Vincent’s tenth library in the Multnomah County system. Her first job in a library was during high school, at the old Gresham Library, now home to the Gresham Historical Society. She observes, “It’s funny that I’ve been here so long that my first library is now a museum!”
When asked what changes over her 22-years in the library business have been the most exciting and which the least, Vincent gave the same answer to both questions: “Technology. It’s been both one of the biggest developments as well as the biggest challenge. It’s like a fast-moving train and you want to make sure that everybody’s on the train.” On further consideration, she added: “We still have some small libraries, but we’re getting some really amazing library spaces,” thanks to the library bond approved by voters in 2020.
(It’s worth noting that the 2004 rebuild of the Hillsdale Library was funded by a bond measure approved in 1996 and that the 2020 bond, in addition to allowing construction of new and bigger buildings throughout the system, will pay for a “refresh” of patron amenities at the Hillsdale branch).
Most services at the library are up and running following months of pandemic-related closure, including reference help, computer use, free printing and faxing. Patrons are free to roam the stacks and use computers, however masks are required inside the building, public meeting rooms are not yet available, and just two of the four “quiet rooms” are available for use by the public. While there is no specific timeline, plans are underway for resumption of in-person programming suspended during the pandemic, such as children’s story times. As the final stages of reopening proceed, Vincent says, “We will be very intentional about building back programs that are inclusive, with an eye on equity.” Also in the works is an arrangement that Vincent hopes will bring newly hired Somali-speaking staffers at Capitol Hill to Hillsdale a few days a week to work with Somali students at Ida B. Wells High School who visit the library after school.
Patrons are unlikely to notice any major changes under Vincent’s management. Says Vincent, “Jay did such a good job, I just want to keep things going as well as Jay had them going.”
Others in the community second Vincent's estimation of Hadley’s tenure as manager.
Said Lara Jones, co-owner of SW Portland Martial Arts/Crossfit Hillsdale, “Jay has always been a highly effective and upbeat, personable library manager, eager to brainstorm creative ways to include and engage all members of the community, from children with sensory concerns to seniors with access challenges. The Fairview branch will be very lucky to have him!”
Chris Braidwood-Reid, Wardin Properties, had this to say: “Greatly appreciate the time, energy, and heart Jay shared and put into both HBPA [Hillsdale Business and Professional Association] and the Hillsdale community! He definitely made a difference and will be greatly missed.”
Rick Seifert, Hillsdale resident and founder of the Hillsdale News stated, “Jay made a point of not just managing the library for its hundreds of patrons but of participating in the civic activities of our Hillsdale community … even though he didn’t live in Southwest. He was president of HBPA and pitched in on the pancake breakfasts and supported Hillsdale Community Foundation initiatives.”
Hadley shared this parting message with the Hillsdale News: "I have really enjoyed serving Hillsdale Library and the community of Hillsdale these last five years. This community really loves their library! I have met so many great people, from community activists, to authors, to caring parents, to aspiring students, all using the library to accomplish their goals. I would like to especially thank our amazing group of Hillsdale Library volunteers; they have given countless hours of service to the community. I will really miss walking around the beautiful hills and trails of Hillsdale, and the people that make Hillsdale a special place."
This article was updated on December 7 to correct the date Patti Vincent took over as manager of the Hillsdale Library: the date was November 9, not February 9.
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