Asked what made Susan O. de Sciora one of the best library directors he knows, Hewlett-Woodmere Public Library Trustee Frank Zaret related this story, from about four years ago.
“They caught someone on video walking out with one of the paintings on display,” Zaret recalled. “She wrote the person a note: ‘These paintings are for viewing, not for lending. Please bring it back.’ It’s those little things.”
Diplomacy, and handling whatever comes her way, have been part of de Sciora’s 46-year library career. It includes nearly 28 years at Hewlett-Woodmere, from which she will retire on March 30.
“I think 46 years is enough,” de Sciora said in her office. “It’s time for a second career.”
While she did not say what that second career might be, her first one included overseeing the library’s last renovation, in 1996; the introduction of a wide range of technology for patron use, such as free Wi-Fi and online services; a significant expansion of cultural activities; and making the facility available to a variety of local organizations for their meetings. “There was a need to be met,” de Sciora said, “and we met that need.”
A native of Brooklyn, she was a page in the West Hempstead Public Library as a student at Molloy College in 1964. Susan Ritter, a young librarian at West Hempstead who was working on a library degree at Columbia University, provided de Sciora with a very different perspective on library science. “It is a much more people-oriented industry than people give them credit for,” de Sciora said. “It offers so much to so many people.”
After graduating from Molloy, she earned a master’s in library science from Long Island University. She moved from West Hempstead’s library to Levittown in 1969, where she worked for 17 years, including as assistant director, before she came to Hewlett-Woodmere in 1986. In 1983 she added a master’s in business administration to her resume.