McDonald County library director Amy Wallain is leaving the library in July. She will begin teaching fifth grade in the fall at the Neosho School District.
"I'm really sad to leave the library. It's such a wonderful place to work," she said. "I enjoy all the people I've met and all the patrons and staff. It was a family move. I've decided to go back into education so I can be where my kids are. I'm going to be in the same building where one of my kids is at. It's a family move. It's not because I wanted to move. I really enjoy the library."
Wallain's previous work history includes working as an elementary teacher at Anderson Elementary School, as a homebound teacher for a high school student and as a preschool teacher for a home school group.
She joined the library in November 2017. She explained some of the highlights of her time with the library.
"One of the biggest things I accomplished during my tenure would be the remodel of the Pineville library. It hadn't changed in over 30 years and we were able to use reserved funds to completely remodel from floor to ceiling. It's been a real positive change for the community of Pineville," she said.
"I think we've done really well drawing the community in through programs that we've offered," she continued. "Santa Claus has visited the library for the past few years. We've continued to offer a fantastic summer reading program. Something new that I instituted -- we started celebrating National Library Week every April and just focus on why libraries are so important in our communities.
"One of the ways we celebrated was to host a business leaders breakfast, which had to be canceled this year, unfortunately, due to covid. But the two years before that we saw leaders from our community, school officials, our commissioners and business leaders all come to the library in support of what we do.
"I think we've grown a really strong relationship with the schools, which is something I'm really proud of because it benefits so many children when we work together. A couple of the things we've done with the schools -- we celebrate National Library Card Month in September, and I worked closely with the school librarians to encourage students to get a public library card. Then we also had a writing contest this fall, and many teachers were in support of that, and we had entire classes submit entries. We had some really great work, and it was exciting to see. And we were able to give out cash prizes."
"The most important thing to me has been to get the community involved with the library because I feel so strongly about having a library for a community," she added. "Having that come together over the past three years has been a blessing to see."
Wallain has been married to her husband, Matt, for 15 years. He is a youth and worship pastor for Fellowship Baptist Church in Neosho. They have three children, Brooklynn, 11, Carson, 9, and Landry, 5, who is starting school this fall at Neosho. Wallain grew up in McDonald County and lived here most of her life, but for the last two years she and her family have lived in Neosho to be closer to their church family, she said.
"My heart has always been in McDonald County. It's truly a place I love," she said.