The man who saw to the opening of the New Albany branch of the Columbus Metropolitan Library is leaving after 18 years with the Columbus library system.

The man who saw to the opening of the New Albany branch of the Columbus Metropolitan Library is leaving after 18 years with the Columbus library system.

Chris Korenowsky, the manager of the New Albany branch, will serve as the director of professional development for the Ohio Library Council starting Feb. 4.

Korenowsky, who also has been the manager of the Reynoldsburg branch for the past two years, has served in multiple positions with the Columbus Metropolitan Library at the Dublin, North Side and main library branches.

He said he'll miss the New Albany branch, saying it was a unique experience.

"I do leave New Albany with a really heavy heart, though, because I remember when that branch was just an empty field," he said. "I had the good fortune to start there as the reference manager and be promoted."

When he first started at the New Albany branch, Korenowsky said, he was working with four other staff members in a janitor's closet at New Albany High School -- the original location for the branch.

"I was in the high school for about eight months, and that is where we did all of our work to prepare to open," he said. "We were still functioning as a branch to the public while we were in the high school. It was just so funny that we went from there (the janitor's closet) to that gorgeous, beautiful building."

Korenowsky said he is proud of what the New Albany library has become.

"I was proud that we really have become a destination in the New Albany community," he said. "People in New Albany love that library, and it shows each and every day. The customers that we encounter are so appreciative and thankful and grateful for the services we offer, and that doesn't always happen."

He said the branch was the first of the CML branches to offer complete self-service checkout and was the first branch to offer online enrollment for library cards.

Dianna Bissell, a children's librarian at the New Albany branch, said she has enjoyed working with Korenowsky over the years.

"He has helped set a relaxed tone on the staff," she said. "We are a really strong staff because of that. We are really comfortable with him."

She said her favorite memory of working with Korenowsky was of sitting at the counter and discussing books.

Korenowsky said he also enjoyed those discussions.

Korenowsky, whose last day will be Feb. 3, said his experience at the New Albany branch has been invaluable.

"I got to do a lot in libraries that don't always necessarily happen," he said. "It definitely was a unique experience."