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Kastigar retires after ‘35’ years of service

By Staff | Aug 26, 2009

Paden City Library trustees express mixed feelings about the celebration to be held at 2 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 6. They are delighted to be celebrating 35 years in their present location, but they are sad to be bidding farewell to longtime library director, Sharon Kastigar.

Paden City Public Library was established in August of 1946, housed first in a portion of the old Land Company Building on Main Street. In 1950 the library moved to its current address into a building that had previously been the Tyler County Grade School. That building was used until the current building was constructed in 1974/75. Several different individuals worked as library directors during those first 30 years, but Kastigar took over that position on November 1, 1978 and has held it exclusively for the past 30-plus years. She is quick to say that the many assistants who have worked with her during that time have been instrumental in the library’s success.

Kastigar, who had a business background and had volunteered in the library at Paden City Elementary School, was recruited by an insightful board of trustees, and the library has grown and prospered since that time. Eager to excel at her job, Mrs. Kastigar enrolled in library science courses at Marshall University as well as in distance learning classes. She worked with local board members and with library directors in neighboring communities to ensure that Paden City Public Library offered the best possible services to its many patrons. Over the years she has attended numerous West Virginia Library Association Conferences, regional workshops, and other continuing education sessions and has integrated many successful programs and ideas into the daily operation of the local library.

Kastigar has served on the executive committee of the Norlin Consortium-a group that was charged with the responsibility of selecting the circulation software that serves all of the libraries in a designated area of the northern panhandle and north central West Virginia.

When questioned about the biggest changes she has observed during her tenure as library director, Kastigar was quick to respond, “Without a doubt, it has to be technology. Computers have put us (small, rural libraries) on a par with larger libraries-giving us access to the same information that was previously limited to those facilities. They have opened up a world of information to patrons of small libraries.” Board members report that they have been especially pleased with Sharon’s enthusiasm for integrating technology into the library, beginning with the first computer that was installed in 1996 and continuing through the conversion of the entire collection to the current automated checkout system.

Looking back over her years at the library, Kastigar commented that she often felt as if she were being paid to play-she enjoyed her job so much she did not think of it as work. She smiled when she talked about the many children’s story hours she has organized and delivered. “I’m now reading to the children of my first story hour listeners!” she stated.

As library director, Kastigar has many responsibilities that daily patrons do not see. She must keep the collection current, remove books that are outdated, follow state and federal regulations, train/orient assistants, attend meetings and training sessions, etc. Library board president Margaret Sine reports that Sharon has even been known to deliver books to shut-ins on her way home from work!

Sharon is married to Bob Kastigar, a retiree of Ormet. They are the parents of two children-Steve, a member of the New Martinsville Police Department, and Amy, a librarian at the Ohio County Public Library. Upon retiring, Sharon looks forward to spending more time with family members and also to being able to focus on her other passion: gardening.

Board members invite the public to stop in on Sept. 6 to wish Sharon the best and to thank her for a job well done. At the same time, they can welcome Joanna Casto who will be promoted to the director’s position following Sharon’s official retirement at the end of September.