If you’ve ever been to a Nevada City Council meeting, you may know that Beth Williams often likes to knit while she sits at the back table with other department heads and listens in.
Perhaps it’s this desire to always have her hands in something that has been the secret to Williams’ success and longevity as Nevada’s library director.
Soon to retire, Williams has given 25 years of service to the community of Nevada through her leadership of the local library. She was thanked by Mayor Lynn Lathrop for her service during the most recent Nevada City Council meeting.
Williams said her family — which includes her husband, Don, their four children: Meg Schon, of Ankeny, Matt Williams, of Charles City, Mike Williams, of Nevada, and Becky Brodie, of Indianola and now 14 grandchildren — came to Nevada from New Lebanon, N.Y., when she was hired to be Nevada’s library director.
The move brought Williams back to her home state. She grew up on a dairy farm, north of Toledo in Tama County.
“I got my bachelor’s degree in English education from Iowa State University and my master’s in library science from State University of New York in Albany,” she said.
Being a librarian seemed to be a natural fit for someone who said books have been a big part of her life. “I read everything I could find (as a youth),” she said. “I love ‘Little Women’ by Louisa May Alcott. I also read Little House books by Laura Ingalls Wilder.”
Williams said she loved books, loved reading and always got excited about knowledge and learning in general. “I taught English for a short time, but always thought that I would like to work in a library. I volunteered at my junior high and high school libraries and always had the idea that someday I would like to go back and get my degree.”
She also liked working with people of all ages, so a public librarianship seemed to be a good choice, she concluded.
As Nevada’s library leader, Williams has been proud of the services the library provides to all age groups and people of all circumstances. “We provide services to home-bound, day care children and all ages in between,” she said.
She also takes pride in having worked well with the local schools. “We have always had a great relationship with the Nevada Schools through class visits, support of teacher curriculum needs and performance opportunities during our Musical Lunch Breaks,” she said.
The accomplishment she’s most proud of, though, will come as no surprise — the Nevada Library’s building project, including last year’s landscaping project. It was an improvement to the library that she believes will serve the facility and the citizens well for the future.
“I love the people who use the library, especially those that come in regularly,” she said. And, she said, it’s been a privilege to work with a great staff and board of trustees, and the rest of the city staff.
Now, Williams believes it is her time to check out. July 13 will be her last day on the job. She’s excited to travel with her husband. “My husband and I love to travel, especially road trips. We have never been to the Northwest National Parks, so we’ll start there.”