Books in her blood

By Phil Reynolds

The Highlander

Jackie Cundieff may have taken over as director of Llano County libraries, but that doesn’t mean there’s an upheaval in the system’s future. For one thing, Cundieff thinks the system is “awesome” the way it is.

She was named director of the three-library system (Llano, Kingsland and the Lakeshore Branch at Buchanan Dam) by county commissioners, effective with the retirement of longtime director Dian Ray on Sept. 30.

She’s no stranger to Llano; she’s lived there for 27 years, her husband, Rick, is pastor at First Baptist Church of Llano, and they’ve raised two children, a boy and a girl, both grown.

However, Cundieff said she grew up in Burleson, south of Fort Worth where her mother was school and church librarian.

It’s kind of in her blood.

And after years in the education system, Cundieff went back to school herself and got a Master of Library Science degree from the University of North Texas.

While Cundieff thinks the system is doing a great job with adults and children now, she wouldn’t mind working more with kids. And she thinks the libraries could get a bit more into digital books, though she doesn’t want to go all-digital.

“There are a lot of people out there who still like to have a book in their hand,” she explained. “There are conveniences to digital, but a lot of people still like (physical) books.”

The most popular books are also the most likely to be duplicated, with copies available both digitally and in print, she said.

And while technology hasn’t penetrated Llano County as much as larger metro areas, “I’ve seen older people becoming more savvy and I’ve seen older people come in and asy, ‘I need help with this’,” she said.

Librarians encourage people to come in seeking help. One staff member has a computer background and will offer training when enough people want it.

One change that will come soon to the Llano branch of the system is a new, expanded children’s section that aims to familiarize parents with the need and means to teach early childhood literacy. Two staff members will attend a week-long course in November to learn how to run that program.

Librarians are happy to help those older people, but they also want to ensure the next generation is familiar with books.

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