Books always have been a part of life for Amy McLanahan, whose next chapter in a "perfect career" began Sept. 1 as the manager of the Hilliard branch of the Columbus Metropolitan Library.

The 47-year-old Upper Arlington resident became manager Sept. 1 of the largest of the library system's 22 branch buildings, according to Ben Zenitsky, marketing and communications specialist for the library system.

The Hilliard branch also is on pace to circulate more than 2 million items this year, McLanahan said.

The approximately 62,000-square-foot Hilliard branch opened in June 2018 at 4500 Hickory Chase Way.

She succeeds Robin Nesbitt, who retired at the end of August after a 31-year career with the Columbus Metropolitan Library system.

The earliest books McLanahan recalls reading are the "Little House on the Prairie" series by Laura Ingalls Wilder and "Anne of Green Gables" by Lucy Maud Montgomery.

"Then I began reading a ton of mystery novels," she said, including works by Nancy Drew and Agatha Christie.

McLanahan said her first job was shelving books as a high school student in Chagrin Falls in northeast Ohio.

While an undergraduate at Kenyon College, McLanahan worked at a preschool, where she would sometimes read to children.

"I found that I loved working with children as much as I loved reading and they built on each other. ... It was a convergence that led me into a perfect career," she said.

In 1995, McLanahan graduated with a master's degree in library science from the University of Iowa and landed her first postgraduate job at Columbus Metropolitan Library, where she has worked for 24 years.

The daughter of an FBI agent whose job required frequently relocating her family, McLanahan said, she relishes having roots, including raising two children with her husband, John, as well as her career with the library system, all but one of year of it at the Hilliard branch.

When hired in 1995 as the children's librarian at the Hilliard branch, it was at the corner of Scioto Darby Road and Veterans Memorial Drive.

Within a year, she was part of the library's move to 4772 Cemetery Road, the branch's location until its move last year to Hickory Chase Way.

McLanahan said she spent one year in Boston before returning to central Ohio and her role at the Hilliard branch. She was a "rover" for a year, rotating among multiple branches in the system, before being named youth-services manager at the Hilliard branch, a post she held for 14 years until she was named branch manager.

"Robin was a great mentor for me as I worked alongside her," McLanahan said. "I think my background here translates well into becoming the branch manager, particularly my time as the youth-services manager."

During her time at the Hilliard branch, McLanahan said, she has watched both the community and the library system grow in leaps and bounds.

Within the system, she said, she has seen children to whom she once read storybooks come to the new library with their own children.

"As our new library continues to evolve, I think it becomes even more of a centerpiece to our community and the families we serve," McLanahan said.

She said her goals as branch manager include continuing to strengthen relationships with other community partners, such as SON Ministries and the YMCA of Central Ohio.

McLanahan's familiarity with Hilliard patrons has not gone unnoticed.

"Amy is already a fixture in the Hilliard community," said Alison Circle, chief customer-experience officer for the Columbus Metropolitan Library. "Her passion for (libraries), customer service and working with children made her an ideal choice to serve as manager for this evolving community."

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