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New library system director meets board

Newly hired Library Director Jay Stephens “enjoyed meeting everyone” at the Halifax County-South Boston Public Library Board special called meeting Tuesday afternoon. 

Chairman Bee Edmunds Espy introduced Stephens to board members during their 4:30 meeting at the library. 

Espy announced Stephen’s start date has been changed to Jan. 2, although it had previously been announced as Jan. 6. 

“We look forward to Jay working with the board, the staff, patrons and various agencies in our community. We are sure he will guide our library system effectively,” Espy said in a press release earlier this week that announced Stephens had been hired as the new director.

The board had been searching for a replacement to fill the position of library director since September after the resignation of Joe Zappacosta. 

His last day was Sept. 30, and the board received six applications from persons interested in filling the position. 

Stephens, who currently resides in Danville with his wife, Lisa, and two sons, Jon and Ethan, will be leaving his position as Director of the Perry Memorial Library in Henderson, N.C. 

Monday night Stephens had a meeting at the Perry Memorial Library where he said his fellow employees expressed their sadness to see him leave but said they were happy for him. 

 “With my sons in school, I wanted to find somewhere closer to home,” said Stephens.  “Since my family moved to Danville in 2001, we have really grown to like the Southside area, and I was fortunate that this position became available.”  

Before working in Henderson, he held two library director positions. 

He worked for the Rockingham County Library in Eden N.C. for five years, and prior to that he worked at the Danville Public Library for three and a half years. 

Stephens received his Masters in library science in 1993 from the University of North Carolina. He spent his undergraduate years at Roanoke College where he received a Bachelor degree in religion. 

Currently, Stephens has no plans to re-locate to South Boston but said he enjoyed the drive from Danville and meeting everyone.

 “Everyone I’ve met so far has been so nice, and the drive through downtown was beautiful with all the Christmas lights,” added Stephens. 

As library director, Stephens hopes to build on the current success of the library and wants to focus on spreading the word about the library to the community.  

“We can’t sit and wait for people to come here,” said Stephens. “I will be building to make the library a very important part of the community.”