Skip Auld didn't expect to be leaving Carroll County after nearly six years as branch manager of the North Carroll library.
But when he had the chance to become assistant director of the nine branch libraries in Chesterfield County, Va., the job was too good to pass up.
Mr. Auld, who joined the Carroll County public library system when the North Carroll branch opened in February 1990, starts his new position Monday. His family is set to join him after Christmas.
"I hated starting to look elsewhere," Mr. Auld said, noting that he and his wife, Noreen Cullen, moved to Carroll County before their older child started school several years ago to avoid having to switch schools.
"This is really where they've grown up," Mr. Auld said of his children, Patrick, 10, and Stephanie, 7, who attend Robert Moton Elementary. "But it wasn't working out locally."
A branch manager's pay doesn't cover the expenses for a growing family, even one with two salaries, said Mr. Auld, whose wife works in the library at Western Maryland College.
And opportunities for advancement were slim in the small Carroll County system, he said. Then the chance to be the equivalent of the chief operating officer for the Chesterfield County libraries beckoned.
"Gail Griffith [Carroll County's assistant library director] told me she wasn't quite ready to leave yet," Mr. Auld said with a laugh. "It's been hard to make ends meet, and this is a chance to have a little better salary."
The new job also gives Mr. Auld an opportunity to use his computer skills, he said, as Chesterfield County explores an automated system with features similar to those Carroll's libraries have added in recent years.
"I was looking for a different kind of challenge," said Mr. Auld, who found such a challenge as the Maryland Library Association's treasurer for two years.
The benefits of the new job in the Richmond area don't make leaving Carroll County any easier, Mr. Auld said.
"This has been nice for me," he said. "This is a great group of people who are good at what they do."
His co-workers feel much the same way about him, said Linda Mielke, director of the Carroll County Public Library.
"We will really miss his combination of expert knowledge angentleness of spirit," Ms. Mielke said, noting that Mr. Auld always worked well managing his employees and the library building.
One evening several years ago when the North Carroll branch's pipes froze, Mr. Auld cheerfully went in after hours to help remedy the problem, Ms. Mielke said.
She also noted that he was always willing to try something new, such as when the branch employees decided to make a quilt to celebrate the library's fifth anniversary.
"He just plunged in and made his own quilt patch," Ms. Mielksaid. "I have to give him credit for that.
"We learned from him and he learned from us. He made a difference in the Carroll County Public Library as a whole and North Carroll as a branch manager. Our loss is Virginia's gain."
His departure will be felt far from Carroll County, she said.
"People all over the state will miss him," Ms. Mielke said, noting his work with the Maryland Library Association. "He's leaving a pretty big hole to fill."