Meet Michael Boedicker, the new Director of Seymour Library

By on September 20, 2019
Mike Boedicker relaxes in Seymour Library where he is the new Director. Photo by Dianne Hickerson.

Mike Boedicker relaxes in Seymour Library where he is the new Director. Photo by Dianne Hickerson.

Mike Boedicker is the new Director of Brockport’s Seymour Library. In his first week on the job, we met in the library. Mike spoke about his background and the goals he has for Seymour.

Looking much younger than his 51 years, he has 28 years of general library experience, including the last 19 years in a professional position. His resumé fills seven pages that include “Excellent written and oral communication skills.” Indeed, without reference to notes, he was thorough and detailed in articulating his goals for the library. With only slight editing by this writer, he said on the spot:

“One of the things happening in public libraries in general is they are becoming less about collections – even though collections are still important – and becoming more about community meeting places or commons. I see that happening here, especially with the four study rooms (now behind black plastic) that are set to open in the next month. I am excited about that, so I plan to market and promote the library as what people call ‘the third space.’  You have home, you have work, and the library can be a third space for a number of things: To borrow materials, attend programs, to meet people, to attend meetings, to have a quiet place to go. I think these rooms will be a great asset – as well as the room we are sitting in now (Local History Room).”

From these general observations he continued with his goals for the library, quoted here with some editing:

GOAL #1 – The idea of the library as a commons is one of my goals. A book came out about 10 years ago called Bowling Alone, which noted memberships in bowling leagues and traditional clubs and service organizations are diminishing. People increasingly are spending their time alone on the internet, or in their homes or on their phones. So, the library can be a place to encourage people to gather. We already do that but we can do more.

GOAL #2 – Related to being a commons, the library is a technology hub. Those who don’t have access to computers or technology at home can come here for that. They may have a phone or laptop but not a reliable internet connection. They can come and use our WiFi. We already have this service, but we can do more.

GOAL #3 – I would like to investigate mobile printing, the ability to easily print to our printers from a phone without having to log on to a computer. This is something I implemented as a reference librarian at the Richmond Library in Batavia. I was at the desk 50 percent of my time. Daily, people would come in with a phone and ask, ‘How do I print from this?’ There was a way to do it previously but it involved getting on to a computer. To get on to the computer you needed a card. What should have been a two-minute process could often become much longer. I asked the director if we could add the mobile printing option. It was an incredible time saver.

GOAL #4 – is to revamp our web site. It is not mobile friendly. If viewed on the phone it does not scale properly to the smaller screen dimensions. If we have a responsive site, it automatically detects the size of the display and re-sizes the site accordingly.

Motivated and aggressive in becoming a professional librarian
It is clear that Mike had early motivations to be head of a public library. He started in high school as a Library Page in Broome County Public Library in Binghamton where he was raised. In college he majored in communications but had problems finding work in broadcasting because of the early 1990s recession. He took a job in the Broome County Library and ended up staying as a clerk. He wanted to advance in the field, so he studied full-time for a year and received his Master of Library Science degree. He attained his first professional position in 2000 as a department head at the Danville Public Library in Danville, Illinois, eventually becoming Assistant Director. He was there for 18 years before moving back to this area.

Settling in
Mike and his wife, Leslie, have lived in Spencerport for a year. She is Director of the Parma Public Library in Hilton. They feel at home already.

“I am happy to be here,” he said. “I have been welcomed by the board, the staff, and the representatives from the three municipalities (that support the library). They have all made me feel very welcome. It’s a terrific staff; they are helping me through this first wave of trying to tame all the paper work and find everything. It’s a great library. It’s wonderful to see it heavily used and making a difference in the community.”