Longtime library board member recognized upon departure
Longtime library board member recognized upon departure
Samuel C. Worsley, Jr., 85, has seen libraries prove their relevance and necessity for the community over his 24 year involvement with the Charles County Public Library system. The Port Tobacco resident recently decided to step aside from the library board of trustees and was recognized this month for his contributions and enhancements that helped the system as a whole.
“You’ve been just priceless to the board and we’re extremely thankful for your service,” Claudia Bellony-Atanga, board president, said to Worsley at the board’s monthly meeting, May 5. “You’re invaluable. You’re an asset to Charles County.”
Worsley was appointed to the library board of trustees in 2008 where he took part in the Waldorf West branch groundbreaking. His appointment was renewed in 2013 when he was elected vice president and subsequently president following the sitting president’s resignation. Before his time on the board, Worsley volunteered as part of the Friends of the Charles County Public Library, now called Citizens for the Charles County Public Library, where he helped supplement the library’s budget by organizing semi-annual used book sales.
Worsley said he saw the library system overcome a predicted fate of extinction when tablets, e-books and the internet seemed to be a favorable option to books.
“So many people thought the library was irrelevant. People thought technology would make libraries obsolete,” Worsley said, adding that while a section of LPs — long playing microgroove vinyl records — was replaced with computers, the library seemed to become more popular over time.
“People still come in and want a quiet place to read and to now use the computers. A lot of people say they like to have a book in their hand. We’ve seen attendance increase over the years with the population rather than decrease,” Worsley said.
When he took office as board president, Worsley said the library was suffering from severe budget cuts that reduced hours of operation and closed the library on Sundays. There were morale problems within the library’s staff and there were no documented bylaws to govern how the library system would function. Worsley initiated the creation of the library’s first bylaws and instituted performance evaluations and encouraged promoting within current staff for vacant positions.
New library programs were introduced, such as summer reading programs, meet the author programs, career guidance, ancestry research workshops, among others that helped increase attendance and board meetings became more transparent and rotated between each Southern Maryland branch to increase community involvement.
Worsley said he is proud the board makeup is also more diverse than it has been in the past — including women, men, various ages, religions and ethnicities — as a result of intentionally looking at which candidates were most qualified for the positions they sought after.
Despite a long list of accomplishments and volunteer library work for decades, Worsley said the recent death of his wife, Nancy, left him without a desire to keep up with outside efforts.
“After Nancy died, I missed several meetings because I felt they were irrelevant. They had no meaning for me at all and I told [board members] so,” Worsley said. “I didn’t want to resign right then because they were filling a place in my life that I really needed otherwise I would just sit here and cry. So I held on for almost nine months now but then when I saw the grass growing and I saw some things that needed repair and I said to myself I can’t handle it all.”
Nancy died in August after suffering from rheumatoid arthritis for many years. The couple was married for 52 years and have four children. Worsley said he and his wife enjoyed many past times together including photography, gardening, traveling the world, and of course reading. Both were fond of the thriller genre — she a Sue Grafton fan, while he enjoyed David McCullough. Worsley’s home is decorated with memorabilia of his wife and their life together, including a picture book his children made of Nancy’s life dating back to her birth in Hawaii 32 days before the attack on Pearl Harbor.
“The board of trustees really appreciates you for everything you’ve done, Sam, for getting us our first ever bylaws, getting performance appraisals for our leadership and employees…you’ve fought through for the past year despite all of your circumstances and loss of your lovely wife but you definitely have been a pillar for the board and we are very sad to see you go, Sam, and we are very thankful for you,” Bellony-Atanga said.
When his wife became ill, Worsley said all of his outside activities were put on hold except for his library work. Now, he hopes that stepping aside will allow him to conquer more exciting adventures. After his late wife’s estate is settled, Worsley said he plans on exploring the only state he has yet to visit: Alaska, where he hopes to see and walk along a giant glacier.
Margarita Rhoden, far left, board member, Janaya Thompson, treasurer, Amanda Stewart, ex-officio and Charles County Commissioner, Sam Worsley, Andrew Pizor, vice president, William Wise, board member, and Claudia Bellony-Atanga, board president, recognized Worsley for his longtime service to the Charles County Public Library system. Worsley recently announced his resignation after 24 years of involvement.
Sam Worsley, 85, recently resigned from the Charles County Public Library Board of Trustees after 24 years of service as a board member and volunteer.