The couple chose to relocate to Winslow because, “We like the location, like the small town living, like being able to walk everywhere, and like the affordability,” Docia said.
After being here for a while, Blalock realized she was going to have to get a job to bring in a little money and take up her time.
Then the city of Winslow began advertising for a new librarian and Blalock knew that job would be right up her alley.
Blalock has a Masters in Librarian Science from Emory University in Atlanta and has worked as a librarian since 1977. She worked for the Atlanta public library system, a book vendor, and a software company as a research librarian.
Within the Atlanta system, Blalock worked as the manager of the Special Needs Center assisting people with disabilities. She was then the branch manager of the Forsyth County Public Library in Atlanta.
In her last position prior to her retirement, she was the liaison between the library system and the construction company. She said because of that job, she is looking forward to being in Winslow while the Roxanne Memorial Library is making its move to the proposed new library facility.
Blalock is pleased to see the support the community has for their library. “Winslow is a great community to walk into and the climate for the library is very supportive, from both the city hall and the community,” she said.
One of the short-term goals Blalock has for the library is to convert to a new circulation program that will improve obtaining books through inter-library loans within the county. The change will also save the city money in licensing fees.
Another goal Blalock has is to “weed” through the collection of books. She said the job of weeding the collection is not a process that librarians use to get rid of the authors they do not like, but it is a long process that requires a lot of judgement based on several criteria. She explained that each book is considered on its physical condition, the accuracy of its information and how many times the book has been checked out.
Blalock added that they are going to keep the classics, but they do have to remove some of the books from their collection. Those books removed will be added to the Friends of the Library book sale. From the sale of books and the “weeding” process, new volumes can be obtained.
“We are hoping to get a collection that reflects the wants and needs of the Winslow community,” she added.
Blalock feels Winslow’s public library does benefit from the rotating collection of Navajo County. The rotating collection consists of movies, DVDs, book about Arizona and the Southwest, large print books, children’s books and graphic novels, which is a novel that contains panel drawings much like a comic book.
She explained because the books move around between all of the libraries in the Navajo County library system, the libraries stretch their collection dollars by sharing.
Another present project is a story time for small children. The program invites children from “lap-babies” to toddlers to 5-year-olds to come to the library and enjoy stories told by Children’s Librarian Dottie Patch. Blalock explained the stories involve songs, puppets and rhymes.
The Friends of the Library are sponsoring an Open House on February 28 from 4 to 7 p.m. so the people of Winslow can come and meet Blalock.
Blalock explained that day, and only that day, will be a “fine free” day. This gives people who have overdue books an opportunity to bring them back.
Blalock said by returning overdue books, people are helping the library to do their job of serving the community.
“We are going to do our best to win that public trust and support,” she concluded.