Christine Nofsinger has the distinction of being the longest-serving director in the history of Marcellus Township Wood Memorial Library. After 26 years, and with her final official day of work having come and gone on December 30, 2022, she has already begun the process of transitioning into her new role from leader to patron.
“I had a dream job,” she said, “it was just time.”
Over the course of her career, Christine was responsible for changing nearly everything about the original facility. The library became automated, expanded hours, remodeled three times, wrote several grants, and created programming. While it already offered a children’s story hour, Christine developed adult programming that now includes education, entertainment, and even yoga. When considering all the changes the library has seen she pointed out the two millage increases that occurred during her tenure. “The fact that we’ve never been turned down for a millage tells me that the community really supports the library.”
This tight-knit relationship between patrons and the library is the fuel behind the new journey Christine is embarking upon this spring: A nearly 3,000-mile cross-country bike trip with the ambition of raising funds for the Marcellus Library with what she is calling “The Russell Wood Ride.”
An avid bicyclist, she has turned her hobby into a passion over the years, and has made several treks in the past including a 400-mile ride along the Erie Canal from Buffalo to Albany, New York. This trip is her first coast-to-coast attempt, however, and will be documented by herself and her husband, David, through their blog, “Checked Out: Russell Wood Ride 2023.” In his first entry, David writes, “Just a year after getting married, Chris and I will drive to Florida and embark on a trip of a lifetime, she pedaling to California, and me driving the support car.”
The official website for the fundraiser, Rally Up, details ways in which the community can participate in Christine’s efforts. Whether fundraising per mile by walking, running, or rowing, donating to other participants, or simply following her journey and sharing updates, options are plentiful. “The Russell Wood Ride commemorates the legacies of all those who have contributed to the development and growth of our local library, and encourages more community members to come together so that our library can continue providing high quality programs, events, and resources to all of our residents,” the website states.
Though no longer at the helm of operations for the facility, Christine assures the community that it is in good hands with the new director, Patricia K. W. Buckhold. Patricia is no stranger to Wood Memorial as she once worked for Christine in high school, left for college where she obtained her masters in Library Science, and has returned to work at the library for a few years. “She’s fantastic. We are so lucky to have her. She is coming in with the same kind of hunger I had when I started, and it allows me to just drift away and be in the background and be supportive,” Nofsinger said.
The Marcellus Township Wood Memorial Library welcomes everyone to join them for an open house on January 19 from 4-6:30 p.m. to commemorate her career as library director, and to her celebrate her next chapter. All who wish to express their gratitude for her leadership in the community, and support for her cross-country adventure are invited to stop in to wish her well and enjoy refreshments. Information will also be available on site for those interested in contributing to Russell Wood Ride 2023.
Beca Welty is a staff writer and columnist for Watershed Voice.