nyisha key-cook county library manager

Nyisha Key

Sometimes the best librarians never intended to be librarians. They transition from other careers and use their training and experiences to mold the lives of the people in their community.

Nyisha Key, manager of Cook County Library in Adel, Georgia, is an example.

”I’m a certified teacher with a degree in middle grades education, and I come from a family of educators,” said Key. “I spent about seven years in the classroom teaching middle school, mostly seventh and eighth grade. I knew I didn’t plan on retiring from the classroom, so I always had my eyes open for opportunities outside traditional education.”

After spending time around the school media specialist, a light bulb came on for Key.

“I thought to myself ‘wait a minute; I’ve always loved libraries. Why don’t I become a librarian?’”

Not only did Nyisha pursue a master’s degree in librarianship, she started working as a circulation assistant at Houston County Library. She felt this would be a good opportunity to get hands-on experience while earning her degree.

That’s when her career began to take off – quickly.

She began working at Houston County Library in 2009, shadowing the branch manager until he left for a new position and she took over in early 2010.

Although Key transitioned into management quickly, she drew from teaching experience when it comes to leading and developing her team.

“I’m a positive person, and being positive is about always looking for solutions instead of focusing on what’s wrong. That’s what helps you progress and move forward,” said Key.

Her classroom experience also influences her commitment to childhood literacy programs.

“The research tells us that the prime time to teach kids to read is the first five years,” she said. “I’m passionate about any program that’s pushing children to develop their literacy skills in that period.”

Key embraces all opportunities to uplift all people in her community.

“I tell my staff that we are not a small town library; we are a library in a small town. Our service is not restricted by where we are located. We’re always looking for ways we can serve better, serve with excellence, and we can be an example of good service and teamwork in our community.”

Read about more stories about how libraries are making an impact, and send us your story: What’s Your Library Story?