Photo by Jon Anderson
Linda Andrews 9-13-16
Hoover Public Library Director Linda Andrews plans to retire Dec. 31, 2016, after 33 years as director.
Hoover Library Director Linda Andrews tonight announced she will retire at the end of this year after leading Hoover’s library for 33 years.
Andrews is the only library director Hoover has ever had. She was hired to start the library in 1983 and opened in a 4,000-square-foot space in the River Oaks Village shopping center off Lorna Road.
The library was so successful that it quickly outgrew its spot in the shopping center and moved to a 10,000-square-foot space on the second floor of the Hoover Municipal Center two years later.
Then in 1992, Andrews led the opening of a stand-alone 45,000-square-foot library across the street from the Municipal Center that included a 250-seat theater for plays and other performing arts productions. The library nearly doubled in size in 2001, expanding to 80,000 square feet and in 2009 added a 5,000-square-foot Plaza that included a coffee shop.
When Andrews started the Hoover Public Library, it had 5,000 books, she said. Today, there are more than 293,000 books, audiobooks, movies, music CDs and other items in the collection.
The Hoover Public Library in 2005 became the first single-location library in the state to circulate more than 1 million items in a year, according to the library’s website. In 2015, circulation exceeded 1.4 million items, records show.
Andrews announced her intention to retire at tonight’s meeting of the Hoover Library Board.
In an interview, she said she has thoroughly enjoyed being the Hoover library director for more than three decades, but she believes her job is done and it’s time to allow others with new vision and new ideas to move the library forward in the 21st century and keep it vibrant.
“I don’t have as much energy as I used to have,” the 69-year-old Andrews said.
She looks forward to being able to get up in the morning, have some coffee, read the newspaper, go for a walk and relax on her front porch, she said.
She also wants to spend more time with her husband, children and four grandchildren, ages 3 to 18, and to have the freedom to travel more, she said.
Eloise Martens, a Hoover Library Board member who helped hire Andrews 33 years ago and who remains on the board today, said she’s sad to see Andrews retire.
“She’s been the heart and soul of this library since we first started,” Martens said. “She’s a very hard and dedicated worker and has been for all of these years.”
The original Library Board hired her because of her enthusiasm and the way she relates to people and her vision to make the library more like a bookstore, Martens said.
Library Board member Michael Krawcheck said Andrews has kept the Hoover library on the cutting-edge of library technology, but she never lost the art of providing personal service to people. The 100 or so employees at the library have bought into that culture she established from the beginning, he said.
Board member Hal Humphrey said Andrews leaves behind a legacy of compassion, care, respect and public service.
Andrews said she’s thankful she had the opportunity to lead the Hoover library and work with a fantastic staff and looks forward to working with the Library Board to transition to new leadership.
Andrews’ retirement won’t take effect until Dec. 31, but she likely will be using a lot of vacation days in December, she said. She hopes the Library Board can pick a replacement before Dec. 1, she said.