Community gives fond farewell to former library director and assistant

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 9 June 2014 at 12:00 am

Photos by Tom Rivers – Susan Rudnicky (in black), former director of the Hoag Library in Albion, is toasted by Mary Anne Braunbach, right, and about 80 other people during a reception Sunday at the Pullman Memorial Universalist Church. The event was a celebration of Rudnicky and her longtime assistant Susie Gaylard, left, who is holding her grandson Caleb Fisher.

ALBION – Two long-time library employees were showered in praise and appreciation during a reception on Sunday.

The event came three months after Susan Rudnicky, the former director at the Hoag Library in Albion, was dismissed. She worked 16 years as library director. After Rudnicky was let go by the library board of trustees, Susie Gaylard quit. She worked 28 years as administrative assistant. She helped plan programs, and also handled bookkeeping and payroll.

The Friends of Hoag Library organized the reception in honor of the two library workers on Sunday.

“They deserved it,” Mary Anne Braunbach, president of the Friends, said about the party for Rudnicky and Gaylard. “They deserved it for their long and faithful service.”

Together the two gave 44 years to the library. Rudnicky was praised for seeing through the transition from moving the library from a converted house on a Main Street to a new site in 2012 with about 2 ½ times the space.

The Friends of Hoag Library put on the appreciation event for Susan Rudnicky and Susie Gaylard. Those pictured include, from left: Friends President Mary Anne Braunbach, Rudnicky, Gaylard and Friends members Judy Manley, Cathy Moore, Grace Kent and Donna Wolcott.

Before the move to the new building, Rudnicky led the former Swan Library’s efforts to modernize, going from a card catalog to electronic organization system for tracking books. She expanded computer use for patrons and pushed for e-books at the library, said Tom Bindeman, director of the NIOGA library system.

“She was an ambassador not only for the library but for the community,” Bindeman said. “She’s a classy lady.”

NIOGA offers many support services and staff development training for libraries in Orleans, Niagara and Genesee counties. Rudnicky insisted that her staff in Albion attend many of the NIOGA programs. She wanted them to be better able to serve the public, Bindeman said.

The community gave $1.3 million in donations towards the new library. Rudnicky also wrote applications that netted about $800,000 in grants for the project.

“The community wouldn’t have supported the library without excellent library service,” Bindeman said.

Rudnicky was praised for the library’s many partnerships in the community with historical groups, literacy programs, and the community reading called A Tale for Three Counties.

Sarah Karas, a co-director at Cobblestone Society Museum, thanked Rudnicky for continuing as president of the museum board and serving as a mentor to the staff.

Rudnicky has been staying busy, preparing for a September art show in Batavia. GO ART! will feature a collection of her acrylic paintings. She said she is also job hunting.

Several speakers also praised Gaylard for her commitment to library programs, especially events for children. Gaylard’s sister Terri Miller said the two would go Black Friday shopping early the day after Thanksgiving. While most people were hunting for bargains for friends and family, Gaylard was out looking for children’s prizes for library programs throughout the year.

Gaylard is growing fruit at her home in Barre and spending more time with her business making purses, Pursenality by Susie.

Gaylard and Rudnicky both thanked the Friends and local residents for the reception on Sunday.

“It was a wonderful show of community support,” Gaylard said.