Fluvanna Faces: Cyndi Hoffman

By Harvey Sorum

Tell us about your past before becoming the Fluvanna County Public Library director.

I grew up on a dairy farm in up-state New York in the Finger Lakes – most of my family still lives up there.  I have a very large extended family there.  I went to undergraduate school for Russian and International Comparative Politics with a minor in French and then went on to graduate school for library science.  I have moved all over the United States working in a variety of libraries.  I have lived in Conroe, TX; Bergen, NY; New City, NY; Kinston, NC and finally here in Fluvanna.

Why did you become a librarian?

I have always loved libraries and reading.  We grew up going to story time at the library.  Libraries and reading were a big part of our childhood.

When did you join the library?

I became the library director at the Fluvanna County Public Library in 2008 – just a couple of months before we moved to the new location (current location).

What attracted you to the Fluvanna County Public Library and what was your first assignment?

I was looking for a library in an area similar to where I grew up – rural but near lots to do and family.  A small town feel to the community and an active library. There is so much history, nature and more in the area and I have extended family fairly close.  My parents also asked me to stay within one day driving distance from them.

Since you first started, have you found the interest at the library growing and why?

I was lucky in that when I came here we were moving to a new building.  That gave me and the library staff an opportunity to change things up and try new things.  Fluvanna library is a very active and community oriented library so interest seems to be growing.  We like to try new things and have lots of programs to keep everyone active.

After visiting your web site, I had no idea you have so much to offer.  What are some of the activities you’d highlight?

With COVID we have had an opportunity to provide a different variety of programs.  The new Grab n Go activities and the Spice of the Month Club are two of my favorites.  Anyone that knows me – I love cooking and baking and trying new things and Spice of the Month Club combines books and cooking.  On the fourth Saturday of every month we give out samples of a spice, information about a spice and recipes.

We also have added several new online databases.  I like exploring the new databases. Just For Kids is a new streaming video database that offers great video content for kids – including all of the original Berenstain Bears videos, Franklin and more. Each video also usually has an activity to go with it.  The new BrainFuse databases are also a great resource – Homework Help, VetNow (help for veterans) and JobNow (employment help).

We miss Friday Movies and No School Day programs and hope to start them again this spring.  We are already planning Summer Reading and Winter Reading is happening now – just check out our webpage.  We do programs for all ages – infants to adults.

With so many varied things to do at the library, you must have a very talented staff.  What are some of the things they do?

Fluvanna library is very lucky to have a great staff and wonderful volunteers.  Everyone is very friendly and helpful with a wide variety of interests to help guide patrons to new materials at the library. Our new Children’s Program Specialist Erinn Henning has started offering drop in children’s activities and crafts around the library, as well as story time twice a week most times during the year.  She is also decorating the library and creating monthly displays.  Staff usually spends a lot of time helping at the desk and we are currently preparing all of the Grab n Go bags, crafts and activities, decorations and more as time permits.

We have great volunteers, including several groups of high school students, who come to the library weekly and some daily to help with shelving the books and putting DVDs away.  The volunteers make most of the phone calls for holds, help get new books ready to put on the shelf, shelve books, shelf read and so much more.  We couldn’t offer everything we do without the great volunteers.  We are still limited in how many volunteers we can have in the building at one time – but look forward to welcoming everyone back soon.

Are the library facilities available for public use such as meetings, guest speakers, children’s group activities, and more?

Fluvanna library has a large meeting room (that can be divided into two smaller rooms) and a conference room space that are open for use by organizations (not for personal use or for profit) – you just have to book the rooms – which you can do by calling the library at (434) 589-1400 or emailing fluvannalibrary@gmail.com. They are very popular and used quite a bit by a wide variety of groups in the county, as well as the library for our programs and the county.

Looking into your plans and goals for 2022, what are some of the things that will grow public interest visiting the library?

We are constantly looking for new ideas and programs.  With COVID we are hoping that we can just get back to our regular offerings in 2022.  We are planning to continue Grab n Go and limited in-person programs through the spring and then by summer we are hoping for more regular programs. 

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