Englehardt and Alto Libraries Welcome New Regional Manager

Photo courtesy of Kent District Library.

Kent District Library (KDL) Lowell and Alto branches have a new Regional II Manager. Kurt Lardie started his new position at the end of September. Regional Manager I, Sandy Graham will remain serving both locations, including focusing on being the community liaison and implementing the KDL strategic plan. In his role, Lardie will take on scheduling and circulation for both branches among other things.

While new to KDL, Lardie is familiar with the Lowell community having moved to the area about 20 years ago. He and his wife, Amy who is a high school teacher, have a son who graduated from Lowell High School last year and is currently serving in the U.S. Army at Fort Bliss, TX. “Some of my past jobs have been in the Lowell community and I am excited to be back and among my friends,” says Lardie.

Bringing Energy and Love of Learning
Lardie is eager to continue efforts those in the role before him have started and work with who he refers to as “passionate employees” at both branches. Between Lowell and Alto, there are 13 full and part-time employees. 

When asked about his favorite thing so far about the job so far, Lardie replies, “What I like most is the passion the employees have for their patrons.  Each person loves what they are doing and wants patrons to find the same joy they find in the library’s many resources.” He’s also impressed with the community involvement, programming, and volunteering each location has established.

According to Lardie, libraries are not “just a building full of books”. To him, there’s a greater purpose to the community and the people within it. He feels a library is a place for people to explore and discover through books, event programming, wifi service, reading programs, and even assistance from a librarian. 

He says, “I think people realize it is a safe, inclusive space where they can have a caring interaction with someone if they want or need it.  It is also a safe, caring place where you can just sit in a corner on your laptop if that is what you need.” He concludes with, “We are here to try and fulfill whatever our community requires.”

Stop In, Say Hello
When asked about his favorite books, Lardie says history is his favorite genre with a focus on pre and early contact with Europeans in the Americas. Although with encouragement from his wife, he is learning to love fiction as well. His current favorite books from recent reads are The Water Dancer by Ta-Nehisi Coates and The Midnight Library by Matt Haig.

If he isn’t working, Lardie enjoys hunting, fishing, hiking, and hanging out with his family. A fan of autumn in Michigan, calling it “magical”, he looks to spend as much time outdoors soaking it in. Helping with that task is the family’s short-hair pointer who requires daily hikes to help burn off some energy.

Lardie is looking forward to meeting more members of the community as they come into the Englehardt and Alto KDL branches. He encourages patrons to introduce themselves, provide feedback, and ask questions.

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