Two months ago, Hunt-Coffey received a Beverly Hills mailer soliciting applications for the top librarian job there.
“I picked it up and I put it down, then I picked it up, put it down, picked it up,” Hunt-Coffey said. “There’s nothing driving me out of this job.”
But there were two strong reasons pulling her to Beverly Hills — a 3-year-old daughter and 20-month-old son.
Beverly Hills’ single library, however venerable, offers the promise of fewer hours and more time with family, she said, which eventually pressed her to submit a last-minute application.
As soon as City Manager Jim Starbird discovered she was among the field of top candidates, he knew Beverly Hills would tap her as the top choice.
“It broke my heart in a figurative sense because she’s so good,” he said.
Hunt-Coffey’s contemporary take on how libraries should meet the needs of evolving communities has translated into notable improvements during her short tenure, among them upgrades in technology and expanded library hours and programs, her colleagues said.
“I think Nancy has laid a solid groundwork for her successor,” said John Steele, president of the nonprofit Friends of the Glendale Public Library.
For many, the Adams Hill storefront library, approved earlier this year, is the embodiment of her knack for harnessing the evolution of what a library could be.
At 2,000 square feet, it is to be about half the size of Glendale’s smallest existing library and will feature smaller, more contemporary book collections that will rotate more quickly to keep up with changing tastes.
Hunt-Coffey counts the experiment in neighborhood-based servicing among her greatest achievements, even if she won’t be around to witness its birth. Construction is expected to end in February.