New Greenville library director plans to maintain status of retiring director

By Kelli Ameling • Last Updated 10:25 am on Wednesday, August 01, 2012

Laura Powers, left, is the new director of the Flat River Community Library in Greenville. She will be taking over for Tara Conaway, right, who is retiring. — Daily News/Kelli Ameling

GREENVILLE — As the Flat River Community Library says goodbye to one director, it also welcomes a new face to the position.

Tara Conaway has been the director at the Greenville library for a little more than nine years. She said she is looking forward to traveling and spending time with family during her retirement.

“My husband has family on the West Coast,” Conaway said. “We will be taking a trip out there.”

Although nothing is set in stone, Conaway said she is looking forward to doing whatever she wants from catching up on sleep to tutoring or even taking a unplanned trips without having to wait until the weekend.

“I am free to be spontaneous,” she said.

During her time at the library, Conaway has seen changes big and small, including internal work to the building, a redesign of the reference desk and children services, updates to the history room and more.

A big revelation was the transition from audio tapes to downloadable books for computers. She said she even made it through an update to the policies and procedures at the library.

“It might have been a lot of work,” Conaway said, “but I really enjoyed it.”

Another item accomplished during her time as director was the passing of a countywide millage for libraries.

“The millage was important to all of us,” she said.

Interactions with the community and Greenville in general are things she is going to miss once she retires.

Conaway, who lives south of Grand Rapids near Byron Center, said she has enjoyed working in the Greenville community, along with participating in the Rotary Club, meeting with the Greenville Area Chamber of Commerce and visiting the Danish Festival.

“It’s a remarkable community,” Conaway said.

Conaway has been working with Laura Powers, who was hired as the new director, to help make a smooth transition.

“I think she is going to be a wonderful change,” said Conaway of Powers.

Powers officially began as the director of the Flat River Community Library on Monday. A Muir resident, she earned her undergraduate degree in business administration and history from Alma College. She earned her master’s in library information science from Wayne State University.

Powers previously served as an accountant for six years and worked at the West Bloomfield Township and Orion Township libraries.

“I love the community aspect of the Flat River Community Library,” Powers said, adding that is what drew her to the position.

Powers said she wants to maintain the hard work already put forth into the library and plans to help the library evolve to keep up with the needs of the community.

She said she would like the community to know she has an open door policy with the public.

“My door is open,” Powers said. “Come in and say ‘hi.’”

A reception for Conaway will be 5 to 7 p.m. Friday at the Flat River Community Library.

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