Amanda Hirst takes over as new director of the Public Library of Brookline

In an age where many of us have grown accustomed to the luxury of easy access to online information and entertainment, we tend to overlook the one place that has always found a way to provide such things for the community: the Public Library of Brookline.

Next time you find yourself tucked into a comfy chair in the corner of a library with a good book or taking advantage of the convenient work spaces available, keep in mind the hard-working people who pour their time and energy into making this experience possible.

One of these people is Director of the Public Library of Brookline Amanda Hirst who began working in libraries in 1999 for the Public Library of Cincinnati in Hamilton County as a circulation attendant. Originally, she said she thought it would be a part-time job.

“Once I started working there I was like, ‘Oh no, I love this. This is where I’m meant to be.’ And I had found my true calling,” Hirst said.

As of Aug. 22, 2022, Hirst is the department head for the Public Library of Brookline’s three locations: the main Public Library of Brookline, the Coolidge Corner Library and the Putterham Library.

Hirst says she looks forward to new challenges and ways she can have a different impact on the community.

“One of the reasons that I took this job is because I knew it would stretch me in various ways, and I was very much looking forward to that,” Hirst said.

According to Hirst, as the library department head she is responsible for efficient operations of the library, overseeing the budget, making recommendations on policy and working alongside the library Board of Trustees on the administration of the library.

The director also works with stakeholders, including the trustees, and develops long-term plans for the library. The current 2023-2027 strategic plan includes a variety of priorities such as cultivating a culture of “exemplary customer service,” according to the official document.

Assistant Director of the Public Library of Brookline Danielle Savin said one of the ways the library is trying to achieve this goal is through meeting patrons where they are.

“We want to welcome the users and create comfortable public spaces and provide access to a lot of resources digitally and print,” Savin said.

The trustees work closely alongside the directors in managing annual budgets and other necessary tasks, but like other library staff members, they hold the welcoming culture of the library near and dear.

Chair of the Board of Trustees and Town Meeting member Michael A. Burstein said his mom used to bring him to the library where he grew up in Forest Hills, Queens.

“Some of my earliest memories go back to going to the library and going to bookstores and other things like that,” Burstein said. “I grew up with books, loving books.”

Hirst said the library is always there for the Brookline community.

“I’m grateful for the appreciation that [the community has] of libraries,” Hirst said. “I can tell that this is a community that really appreciates the library, our staff, programs and services.”