There’s a new director at the Cold Spring Harbor Library & Environmental Center.
Rodger Podell came on board about three months ago and is excited about the new bonds he has already made with residents of the area.
“I’ve really enjoyed meeting everyone in the community,” Podell said in a phone interview. “It’s been great to get out and meet with different parental groups. I’ve loved getting to know everyone.”
Podell is no stranger to Long Island, moving to Jericho in 1978 from New Jersey and graduating from Jericho High School. He worked as a freelance video camera operator for a few years on various television and news shows until the late ’90s, when he decided to go back to school and pursue a field that had always interested him — library studies.
“I’ve always liked that libraries serve the community and serve all ages,” Podell said. “You can see infants coming in for story time, seniors coming in for social programs and everyone else in between. This is one of the few community-based organizations that serve all ages of the community.”
He graduated with a master’s degree in library studies from Long Island University in 1996, and started working at various school districts on Long Island including Middle Country.
The director also served as the head of school libraries for Western Suffolk BOCES for a few years, where he worked with school librarians throughout the district to help provide development ideas.
Before coming to Cold Spring Harbor, Podell was working as director of the Elmont Public Library in Queens, where he said he served about 1,000 people daily.
“I saw this position [at Cold Spring Harbor] and I had worked with the Cold Spring Harbor school district while at BOCES, so I was familiar with it,” he said. “It’s not only in a beautiful location, but there is also a real dedication here toward education. I could see that right away, and I knew that must carry over into the library.”
Podell said the library is dedicated to the community, not only through many educational programs but entertainment programs as well.
The Cold Spring Harbor Library offers exercise classes, story-time classes, book discussion groups and SAT prep courses.
Podell said a few programs stick out in his mind, like the Jedi Academy, an interactive Star Wars program hosted in February, and Cinderella, a musical production performed at the library in January.
Looking forward, the director said he hopes to continue to improve the library According to Podell, the children’s room was recently changed to better utilize space.
Aside from his director position at Cold Spring Harbor, Podell is also an adjunct professor at Long Island University Palmer School of Library and Information Science, and serves on the Long Island Library Resource Council’s Board of Trustees.