Change afoot at the Northumberland Public Library!

Jan hiking pdf
Jan Bates will be blazing new trails.

Children’s Program Coordinator Jan Bates, and Library Director Alice Cooper are ending their tenure at the end of May. The library will host two open houses this month for the community to come wish them well in their new endeavors.

The first open house will be held for Jan Bates on Friday May 19, from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. Cooper’s Open House will occur on Friday, May 26, from 4 p.m. to 6pm.

Alice Cooper
Alice Cooper moves just up the road.

Bates, a former reading specialist at the Northumberland Elementary School, said, “It’s been a wonderful opportunity to reinvent myself.”

She combined her 40-year career skills with her networking skills and transformed Children’s Services at the library. Attendance by children at library programs has skyrocketed with a 700% increase in participation during Bate’s first year and continues to rise. New children’s programs since January 2013, when Bates started include: “What If Wednesdays,” Home School Program, now known as Northern Neck Homeschoolers, Read to the Dogs, 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten, Space Camp, Lego Camp, Reader’s Theatre, Pre-School Outreach, and the Petting Zoo, among others. She has also instituted a paid summer intern program where local students work part-time at the library.

“Everyone has contributed to the success of the children’s programs at NPL. I couldn’t have done it without you or without the Northumberland County schools, the Northumberland Family YMCA, and all the businesses and civic organizations who collaborated with us over the years,” said Bates. “When I asked, people responded….it was just that simple and just that powerful.”

“I wave a farewell as I strap on my backpack and hiking boots and head for the mountains or wherever,” said Bates.

The open house for Alice Cooper will be held on Friday, May 26, from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.

Cooper will be taking her skills just up the road to head the Lancaster Public Library.

Cooper was library director for six years, from 1996 until 2002, and returned for another four years in January 2013. She is leaving as the library gets ready for it’s newest service, a Mobile Library equipped with internet service.

“This will release the library from its bricks and mortar facility and has the potential to take it out to all geographic points of Northumberland County,” she said.

“It’s a bittersweet decision as this library and this community, where I’ve lived for more than 20 years, has a big place in my heart, she said. “However, I am sure that there is a wonderful library director in Northumberland’s future who will take this library to its next level.”

The entire Board of Trustees for Northumberland Public Library said it wishes her great success in Lancaster. “She will be missed!”

Please join us in thanking Bates and Cooper on May 19 and May 26. For more information, please call the library 580-5051, or email

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