New library director excited to start

Published 10:50 am Friday, September 8, 2017

By JOYANNA LOVE/ Senior Staff Writer

“I’m really happy to be here. It’s a bit of a dream job for me.”

This is how Savannah Kitchens feels about being the new library director for the Chilton-Clanton Public Library.

Kitchens’ first day was Sept. 5.

“I’ve always wanted to be a library director — that has always been the goal … and I’m really passionate about library services for our rural communities,” Kitchens said.

She is a University of Montevallo graduate and grew up in Montevallo.

“I grew up going to the library and knowing that it was important,” Kitchens said. “It was important to me and to my friends and family.”

She said Clanton was the “type of community that I like to work in, so it was kind of the perfect combination for me.”

Kitchens said she wants to strengthen the Clanton library’s relationship with the other libraries in the county and create an interlibrary loan system.

“If the book that you want is all checked out except for the one in Jemison, but you don’t want to drive all the way to Jemison, you could place a hold on it and then it would arrive ‘magically’ here on Thursday and we would give you a call and you would come pick it up,” Kitchens said.

Those living in Jemison and Maplesville would also have the option to place a hold on a book in the Clanton library. The goal is to increase convenience for library patrons.

She also wants to have the library website updated and increase public awareness of what the library has to offer.

“This library has a wonderful and a long history, so I want to make sure that we continue to be wonderful,” Kitchens said. “I want more people to be aware of what we have to offer.”

Long-term goals include expanding library programing for children and offering adult programing and presentations at the library.

Kitchens’ interest in being a librarian began when she was working on her bachelor’s degree in English and French. She has worked in libraries since 2009. Most recently, she was the children’s services manager at the North Shelby Library.

“I love picture books,” Kitchens said. “I did a lot of story times as a children’s librarian.”

She also worked as a teen librarian for three years. During this time, she came to love science fiction and fantasy genres.

In adult level books, she enjoys historical biographies.

Kitchens completed her Master of Library Science from Dominican University in Illinois. The university appealed to her because it was an hour away from Chicago and an opportunity to experience a new place.

“Grad School is a great opportunity to see more of the world,” Kitchens said. “I got to experience really top-of-their-industry professors, which was wonderful. I got so many opportunities.”

After completing the two-year program, Kitchens returned to Montevallo.

Kitchens and her husband James recently celebrated their fourth anniversary. The couple has a one-year old daughter Stella.