PITTSTON — Anne Hogya’s accent makes it clear she is a native New Yorker.
Hogya, 59, who served as director of the Pittston Memorial Library for over five years, has decided to step down to return to her roots to be closer to family.
“We have older family relatives that are getting pretty sick,” Hogya said. “(My husband) John and I are the ones on both sides of the family that are caretakers.”
Over her five-year run as director, Hogya was responsible for many programs and activities being added to the library, such as Grandparents Raising Grandchildren, Teen Reading Lounge, computer classes and more.
She also helped bring the community together through fundraising activities such as the annual Taste of Greater Pittston and the Friends of the Pittston Memorial Library Book Fundraiser.
It was part of Hogya’s plan to address all generations of the community.
“A library serves people from birth to death,” she said. “It seems like a lot of libraries tend to think they only need programs for preschoolers, but they forget the children from when they go into school to when they become adults bringing their children in. That’s the population you want because those are your future patrons and future library users.”
Of Hogya’s additions to the library to make it more community-friendly, she will always be most proud of her most recent accomplishment — the expansion project.
“It kind of was my baby from start to finish,” Hogya said. “I drew the plans up, we gave it to the architect and said, ‘Make it legal.’ The (library board of trustees) knew we had to expand, but didn’t know which way to go and asked me what I thought. I told them we needed a children’s room, a new community room and we went from there.”
While the new children’s wing is done, the community room is still under construction and the city is working on acquiring grants for a playground and amphitheater.
Hogya worked her last day on July 29, but said she will be back for the grand opening of the new library additions on Saturday, Aug. 15.
She will continue her career as a library director at South Country Library in Belleport, New York where she hopes to incorporate some of the ideas she brought to Pittston.
“I haven’t really had time to think about what it needs most,” Hogya said. “I really have to go in and see what the day-to-day is and what they do. I do need to teach them how to do fundraising.”
With Hogya gone, the library board of trustees will begin searching for a new director. In the meantime, staff members will pull together to operate the library.
Born and raised in Long Island, New York, Hogya graduated from St. Dominic High School in Oyster Bay, New York and from Long Island University with a bachelor’s degree in fine arts with a minor in art history.
After college, she worked as a medical office manager for a few years before leaving work to be a stay-at-home mom to her three children, Joseph, Sean and Kimberly, from 1988 to 1995.
Hogya took her first step into the library world by accepting a job as a children’s librarian at the Bayville Free Library in Bayville, New York.
“It was just a good fit for me,” she said. “A lot of children’s librarians have a great interest in art because of the art in picture books and working together with creativity. It was a good fit.”
Hogya’s husband would later be diagnosed with cancer , prompting the decision to move to Pennsylvania in 2008 to be away from the city life.
“We had our own painting contracting business and it was just hard to run,” she said. “After we decided we couldn’t keep the business anymore, we moved here to get away from the city and make it less stressful on his illness.”
When her husband began showing improvement with his cancer treatment, Hogya went back to work as a librarian with the Marian Sutherland Kirby Library in Mountain Top.
Today, her husband is completely healthy.
After a year and half in Mountain Top, the opportunity to be the Pittston Memorial Library Director arose and Hogya threw her name in the hat.
She was hired in April 2010.
While she is excited to return to New York, Hogya will never forget the reason she enjoyed her time as the director of the Pittston Memorial Library — the people.
“I have the world’s best staff,” she said. “I taught them to be creative and they ran with it. I had the best library board because they had complete trust in me with whatever I thought of and gave me 100 percent backing.”
Reach Jimmy Fisher at 570-704-3972 or on Twitter @SD_JimmyFisher