STANTON — The headline could read “Hometown girl makes good,” but Patty Rockafellow, who recently took over the director’s position at White Pine Library, has been making good things happen in the Stanton area for most of her adult life.
A lifetime resident of Stanton, Fenwick and the surrounding area, for 30 years Rockafellow taught elementary school students, first in Sheridan, then later in Stanton. She retired this past spring from teaching, but missed “working with the kids.”
Now, only a couple months later, she’s working with the kids again, this time as library director.
“I didn’t really have much time off,” Rockafellow said. “I heard (the library) needed a new director and I felt like I wasn’t really ready to do nothing. I felt I still wanted to contribute to the community.”
Rockafellow still resides in Fenwick with her husband, Craig, who works as a mail carrier. The two raised their children, Andrea and Alex in that small town, which Rockafellow describes as “a post office, period.”
Though she plans to retire — “again, this time for real” — in a few years, she says she’s looking forward to her tenure as director.
“I think I can bring something positive to the job,” Rockafellow says. “I know the community, I know the kids, I’m excited about the school programs we do here at the library.”
Rockafellow adds she was surprised to find out all the myriad programs the library offers the community and says she plans to begin publicizing them in The Daily News through as series of press releases and columns.
“I want people to know (the library) is the hub of the community,” she says. “We have so many things to offer.”
Members of the library board of trustees share Rockafellow’s excitement and are looking forward to great things from the new director.
According to board vice president Kate Zimbelman, hiring Rockafellow for the position was a no brainer.
“We are just so thrilled to have her,” Zimbelman says. “She knows our community and is just so enthusiastic about books and learning. She’s a wonderful fit. She is just filled with energy and excitement and all our patrons, from the little ones to the seniors, will benefit from her presence. She’s just hopped in with both feet and we’re off to the races.”
For Rockafellow’s part, landing the director’s job is a kind of dream come true. She visited the library extensively as a child and never lost her fondness and fascination for the literary life.
“I loved this library growing up,” Rockafellow says. “I always wanted to be a part of it.”