Carolyn Toth, Executive Director of the Sewickley Public Library, has announced her plans to retire in early 2023. Carolyn’s career spanned 35 years in public library service. She joined the Sewickley Public Library in 1998 and has spent the last 25 years overseeing a beloved community asset.
Carolyn, a native of Bethel Park, developed a love of books and libraries from a young age. After starting out working in retail, she decided to go back to graduate school for library science in her late 20s. Before coming to Sewickley, Carolyn worked for nine years as the director of the Castle Shannon Public Library.
From the outset of her time at Sewickley, Carolyn was tasked with overseeing major change. Under her direction, the library completed a major construction project expanding the library from 8,800 to 23,800 square feet. The expansion added a second floor with a children’s department, meeting rooms, and space for growth. That growth came in the way of larger collections, an expanded staff, and space for programming for all ages.
She led the library through a period of exponential growth in library circulation and visitors yearly. Carolyn and her staff worked to make the library a welcome place for everyone in the Quaker Valley and surrounding communities. Annual circulation of materials doubled between 2001 and 2021. The library now welcomes over 200,000 visitors annually.
Carolyn has become a well known “face of the library” and a pillar of the civic community in Sewickley over her career. She has worked with the library board of directors, Friends of the Library, Quaker Valley School District, local nonprofits and businesses to ensure that the library reflects the community that helps fund it. “I was welcomed into the Sewickley community where I raised my daughter, Lindsay, in the Quaker Valley School District” says Toth. “It is a special place where people care about education, and consistently show their love and support for the library. They made my job an easy one to love.”
The last 25 years has seen dramatic shifts in how we get information, consume media, and use technology. Carolyn helped lead Sewickley Public Library as it adapted to these changes. Adopting the latest technologies and hiring staff who could assist the public with them was crucial. She saw the importance of diversifying the library collections as media formats have changed. In 2021, eBooks accounted for more than 20 percent of the library’s overall circulation. Toth says, “I believe in hiring good people, and the secret to the library’s success is the strength of our staff. I leave the library in their capable hands, and know that they will continue to serve the community well.”
Please join us in congratulating Carolyn on her distinguished career and thanking her for her service to the Sewickley community. Carolyn will be missed by her staff and all those library users who’ve gotten to know her over the years!
The board of directors will soon begin their search for Sewickley’s next director. They plan to introduce the new director in early 2023. For those who would like to honor Carolyn’s long and distinguished service to the library, the board suggest gifts be made to the library’s endowment in her honor, ensuring library staff has the necessary operating resources required to carry her legacy far into the future.