ROGERS — Judy Casey has made an impact on the public library that will last for years to come, according to co-workers.

Casey, the library’s director, retired Friday after a 45-year career in education and library science. She started her service at the Rogers library as children’s library director in 1997 before becoming library director in 2000.

“I think that over two decades of service that Judy has provided and her leadership has certainly meant great strides in the advancement of our library,” said Mayor Greg Hines. “I think the glide path she has set in place for the future will certainly outlive her time here.”

Casey’s interest in education and library science was ignited by the librarian at the Nashville (Arkansas) High School, where she graduated, she said. Before coming to the Rogers library, Casey served as a media specialist in public schools in Arkansas and as a children’s librarian and the head of a library extension service in Illinois.

A lifelong love for learning fueled Casey’s career, she said. In Rogers, Casey has been responsible for managing the library’s 40 staff members and its collection of more than 140,000 items.

She has overseen a remodel that expanded the library’s space by 54%, an expansion of the children’s library, the addition of downloadable books and the incorporation of online resources. She also wrote a grant application that allowed the library to hire a multicultural librarian for the next three years.

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Carolyn Smith, a library board member for more than 20 years, called Casey “magnificent” and said she will be missed.

“She has done so much for the library, I can’t even begin to be able to tell you how many innovative things she was willing to try,” Smith said.

Casey’s best memories are of helping the library connect with the community, whether it was helping a child discover a love of books, providing seniors with a place to reconnect with reading or working with the friends of the library or library foundation to host authors such as Nicholas Sparks or Rick Riordan.

“I am so proud I was selected to be involved in this library and to see what we have been able to do,” she said.

Casey said she is looking forward to the fresh perspective and new ideas incoming library director Hannah Milligan will bring to the position.

Milligan has worked at the library since September 2012. As she worked her way up from library assistant to circulation manager and finally to assistant librarian, Casey served as a mentor, Milligan said. Casey has a very positive energy and excitement for serving the library and the community, she said.

“We are all going to miss her very much,” Milligan said. “I think her retirement is well deserved, and I think her impact is definitely going to linger for many, many years.”

Rogers Library Director Judy Casey, seen here Wednesday July 21, 2021, is retiring after more than two decades of service to the library. Visit nwaonline.com/21000731Daily/ and nwadg.com/photo. (NWA Democrat-Gazette/J.T. Wampler)

Rogers Public

Library resources

• A collection of more than 140,000 items

• Downloadable books, audio books, movies and music

• Online learning and tutoring services

• Internet and computer use

• Printing services

• Study and meeting rooms

• Programming and workshops for all ages

• Guidance from librarians

Source: NWA Democrat-Gazette