A new assistant director began work at Albany County Public Library about three weeks ago.
Rachel Crocker, a 2006 University of Wyoming graduate, started at her new position in February after working at a non-governmental organization in Washington, D.C.
Crocker, who grew up in Cheyenne, said she was excited to move back to the West and looking forward to helping the public library run more efficiently.
As the assistant director, her duties will include technology systems, building maintenance and human resources.
“It’s a lot of the behind-the-scenes, structural things that will keep things moving,” she said. “I’m hoping I can do that in such a way that allows our librarians to do the things that they’re good at.”
She hopes to begin work on a redesign of the library website while also developing a five-year technology plan.
“Part of that, for me, is getting reacquainted with the community and figuring out what the community wants and needs in that respect,” she said of the technology plan.
Crocker, who graduated from with UW with a degree in international studies, got her first taste of library work at the American Heritage Center while she was an undergraduate. She also worked in an academic library at Kansas State University.
She said she’s drawn to libraries because she values their role in serving the local community.
“That’s really the aspect that I like about libraries in general,” she said.
Crocker has a master’s degree in international human rights from the University of Denver, and she was able to combine her love for libraries and her academic background while working for an NGO in Washington, D.C., called Irex, which has a presence in more than 100 countries.
Crocker’s focus was helping public libraries around the world better reach their communities and design new services.
“A lot of those (services) were connected to bringing Internet access, digital skills and those sorts of things to libraries,” she said.
She worked mainly in Nigeria and the Philippines during her tenure with Irex.
“I literally filled a passport on that job in five years,” Crocker said.
Crocker said she was excited to be able to return to southeast Wyoming while not straying too far from the issues she focused on during her international work, such as promoting technology skills among young people.
“I want to come back work on some of those same issues, but in my home state,” she said.
Ruth Troyanek, director of Albany County Public Library, said Crocker’s focus on keeping things running will make it easier for everyone else to do their jobs.
“We’re finally starting to tackle projects that we’ve had on the backburner for months, if not years,” she said.