Bon Voyage: Terri Frederick, LPLS Public Relations Officer
Described by her colleagues as the hardest working, friendliest, most cordial employee they’ve known, Terri Frederick, has retired from the Lorain Public Library System.
Serving as the LPLS public relations officer for 24 years, Frederick leaves a deep mark in the library system as well as the local community.
“She put her heart and soul into that job,” said LPLS Director Joanne Eldridge. “She’s very conscientious, compassionate, positive, and genuine, and has great generosity,” she said. “We are well regarded in the local community because of her efforts.”
Those efforts included grand-scale projects that greatly changed and improved the library system including working with volunteers to gain support for dozens of library levies, and helping to promote the construction or renovation of six system library buildings.
Frederick also worked on the dedication event for the Toni Morrison Reading Room at the Main Library in 1995.
“It was pretty awesome to hear her give her recollections of growing up in Lorain, and how the Library made an impact on her life,” Frederick said of the Lorain native and Nobel Prize winning author Toni Morrison who attended the reading room opening ceremonies.
For the library system’s 100th anniversary in 2001, Frederick said she was also grateful to have been involved in creating the library’s mascot Browser® and launching the new Bookmobile.
Collaborative endeavors she said, bring her great pride and gratification.
And efforts she reiterates were possible thanks to the dedication of many people including numerous library staff, Library Friends groups members, volunteers, citizens groups, The Foundation of the Lorain Public Library System, Inc., and other library supporters.
“They are so energizing to be around because they care so much about their community as well as the Library,” Frederick said.
This team work is precisely one aspect of her job Frederick said she’s always cherished.
“Small, dedicated groups of people with a vision, with commitment can really make a difference,” Frederick said. “I really appreciate working collaboratively.”
In over two decades, she has witnessed the library system experience great changes including a gradual shift toward nonprint materials, a growing and more diverse patron base, and dwindling state funding. She’s seen the library system’s growing trend toward eReaders, eBooks, and online use.
“I don’t get so hung up on what format that book might be in; my personal hope is that I can always have access to that material, that information in some way,” she said.
She’s also seen the Library transform from being primarily a provider of information and books to becoming a community place for entertainment, learning and connection.
And she’s seen LPLS become part of the CLEVNET library consortium that allows the library system to offer over 10 million items and one of the largest eMedia collections in the country.
“What I’ve appreciated about working here is that we are very progressive and we really try to listen to our communities,” Frederick said “This institution is amazing in what it offers.”
When she landed her job at Lorain’s Main Library in 1989, Frederick, a Lorain High School grad, said “it was like returning home.”
Born in Amherst and raised in Lorain, she grew up using Lorain’s Main Library, and its library branches on the East and West side of town.
Her grandma, an Italian immigrant who had to leave school after the eighth grade and made the Library her own university, first introduced little Frederick to Libraries and reading.
“My grandma used the Library then as her way to learn,” Frederick said, “She would say that nobody can take your education from you. So, our time together was usually spent around books and food,” she laughed.
Her love for reading and books also started as a young girl thanks to her family of avid readers and teachers including her dad, who was a teacher and a principal, and her stepmother, who was also a teacher.
Before LPLS, she worked in public relations/marketing and taught PR courses at Capital University and Lorain County Community College.
Having earned a bachelor’s and master’s degree in journalism and public relations from Kent State University, she started her professional career life in the advertising department at Lorain’s The Morning Journal.
A New Life Chapter
After retiring, Frederick said she looks forward to reading, using Libraries more for her personal pleasure, attending and even ushering at Cleveland Indians games, volunteering where she’s directly helping and serving people, and spending more time with her family.
She and her husband, Jeff, married 35 years, have two adult married children and two grandchildren. Their daughter, husband and two children live in Hope Mills, N.C., and their son and wife reside in Fishers, Ind.
But retiring has been a bittersweet experience; she said she will miss her Library family.
“I am surrounded (at LPLS) by people who are caring, have a lot of knowledge and are always willing to share,” she said of the library system staff.
Her colleagues say they will miss her.
“Terri is the most patient person in the planet,” said Debra Jackson, LPLS public services coordinator. “If everybody needed to learn something from Terri it would be how to talk to people cordially.”
Valerie Smith, who has worked at LPLS for 38 years and currently serves as the public services coordinator, described Frederick as a caring, committed professional.
“Terri has always been a delight to work with,” Smith said. “We all have appreciated her these many years. We will miss her caring and thoughtful personality, her patience with those of us who kept coming up with last minute urgent projects, and her high degree of committed professionalism,” Smith said.
Described also as a steadfast, passionate worker who goes above and beyond, Frederick said she’s enjoyed promoting the library system all these years.
“I am in an environment that supports learning, which is a basic value that I grew up with,” Frederick said “I also see every day how the Library touches the life of someone or groups of people.”
May Books and Libraries continue to take you on great voyages!
Best of luck Terri Frederick!
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