Long­time li­brary board mem­ber rec­og­nized upon de­par­ture

Long­time li­brary board mem­ber rec­og­nized upon de­par­ture

Maryland Independent - - Front Page - By SARA NEW­MAN snew­man@somd­news.com

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.

STAFF PHOTOS BY SARA NEW­MAN

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.

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