Thurmont Regional Library Administrator Erin Dingle (pictured right) has lots of things to keep her busy after her retirement. She is looking forward to spending time with her family—babysitting her two grandsons, who live in Silver Spring, and attending sporting and school events with her two grandsons in Baltimore. She also plans to travel farther than Maryland, as she attempts to continue her goal of visiting all fifty states. Her passions include reading and gardening, which she will enjoy while her already-retired husband plays golf.
Dingle is also working on a research project about the Maryland State Sanitorium in Sabillasville, which opened in 1908. Because her father worked there, she grew up on the grounds of the facility. Her research includes original documents and oral histories from nurses and patients. The future of the research project might be a book one day.
Dingle started working at the Thurmont Library in 1987, when it was located on Water Street. At that time, she lived near the library and walked to work for the evening shift. She reintroduced the children’s storytimes, as well as other programs. When Margaret Bruchey Krone retired as branch manager, Dingle was promoted. She earned her Master of Library Science degree and became the regional library administrator when the new library opened on Moser Road in 2008. When looking back over the last thirty years, she’s seen lots of changes: the card catalog was replaced by the computer system, the new library has a literacy corner in the children’s area, there is now a beautiful deck for everyone to enjoy nature, as well as study rooms, artwork on display, and an agricultural history room. Many community programs have been added over the years; Dingle always looked for ways to increase community involvement, but she also gives credit to her “fabulous” staff for coming up with ideas and implementing them. She will miss the staff and the patrons who have become her friends. “I’ve loved every minute surrounded by books. It was just the perfect job for me.”
I asked Mayor John Kinnaird about Dingle’s contribution to the community. He replied, “Somewhere, there are everyday, run-of-the-mill librarians, but not here in Thurmont! Erin Dingle has played an important and integral part of the lives of the residents of Thurmont since taking her position thirty years ago. In the course of her career, Erin has been the only librarian many of the last two or so generations of youngsters have known. I drive by the library regularly and am always surprised to see how many people are there at any time of the day or evening. Under Erin’s leadership, the Thurmont Regional Library has become a central part of life for residents in and around Thurmont, with many well-attended programs and events suitable for all ages. The Thurmont Regional Library is recognized as one of the best libraries in the state; this recognition is due, in large part, to the efforts of Erin Dingle. Thurmont has benefited from having an outstanding librarian these past thirty years, and on behalf of the residents of Thurmont, I want to wish Erin a happy, healthy, and long retirement.”