COOPERSTOWN — After nearly three decades in charge of the library in one of America’s historic literary locations, village librarian David Kent has penned his official notice of retirement.
“It was time, 27 years,” Kent told The Daily Star in a socially distant interview in the village library at 22 Main St. “The process has changed so much. It is just not what I got into. It is so technology based. It is so much about the social media.”
A native of Palo Alto, California, Kent had lived in Cooperstown previous to taking the library job. His then wife was a doctor at Bassett Hospital and he was watching their infants, Brian and Cynthia, who are now 30 and 28. But Kent had a master’s degree in library science from San Jose State University and the kids were close to being school age.
“I had been Mr. Mom, before this,” he said.
Kent’s first day was Jan. 1, 1995. He also wrote a column for The Cooperstown Crier for years.
Kent turns 65 before his official retirement day in May, but he will likely begin vacation before retirement, using leftover days from nearly 27 years of service.
“I don’t know the final day, yet. Let’s just say April,” he said.
Kent oversaw several big changes in the library, including a major renovation of the library’s space in the historic village building. He said that effort was directed by the helper group, Friends of the Village Library, and its leaders.
“They have been absolutely wonderful,” he said. “They are a great support group. I don’t know if there has been any support group out there that has raised as much money for a library as our group has done. They are constantly working on the book sale and other things. They’ve been incredibly supportive.”
Kent said he was also blessed with staff and volunteers, a few of whom preceded him and are still around.
During Kent’s tenure in Cooperstown, the library also partnered with Kinney Memorial Library in Hartwick to spearhead a change in the way the two libraries in the Cooperstown Central School District are funded, from municipal to a dedicated annual tax that is collected with the school tax. Although the change was projected to cost taxpayers a small amount of money, law was passed in 2014.
Kent said he shares credit for that, too, with a willing partner in local governments and at the Hartwick library.
“I think that was one of the most significant things while I was here,” he said. “It meant the library would have guaranteed funding.”
Kent said he will take some time after his last unofficial day to rest and rejuvenate, but he does not have any other immediate plans.
“Especially, people have been urging me to write,” he said.
His kids are both still in the northeast, so he will stay in Cooperstown, at least in the short term. Even in the long term, he expects to stay nearby.
“Maybe the Albany area, but I have so many friends here,” he said.
Most of all, he said he will miss the people who use the library and the interactions he had with them.
“This has been a terrific ride,” he said.
Greg Klein, staff writer, can be reached at email@example.com or 607-441-7218.