Piqua Public Library director announces retirement


By Haylee Pence

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PIQUA – After 36 years of employment with the Piqua Public Library, Library Director James “Jim” Oda will be retiring at the end of July.

Oda’s first job was with the library when he was just 12 years old stocking shelves. His family was involved with the library, which sparked his love for books and history. Oda has served as the library director for 24 years. Before this, he was the Local History Coordinator for the library.

Oda has seen the library expand and change over his three decades, including the moving of the library to its current building and the automation seen with advancing technology.

“Moving the library to this building was an amazing feat that did not go as planned,” Oda chuckled remembering the move, which was impacted by the building’s elevators not being approved and unable to use. “We had to haul the books ourselves and use some creative methods to transport them all and get them ready for the big opening. My wife and I were so busy that weekend we didn’t celebrate our wedding anniversary, and I almost forgot her gift!”

The additional space with the bigger building has allowed the library to expand its programming and events, including the puppet shows hosted by Nancy Spillane in the children’s department.

“I’ll never forget the time that I watched Nancy’s rehearsal for a show. I needed to speak with her, but I didn’t want to interrupt so I sat down in front, and this rehearsal was just not going well between forgetting lines and knocking things over. Next thing I know, I hear Nancy exclaim a very unlibrary-like word, and I went ‘excuse me?’ and then it was dead silence. Until Nancy quietly said, ‘Who’s there?’ It’s one of my fondest memories,” Oda said.

Oda is most excited about the extra time he will have upon retiring. He is planning on writing two books that he hasn’t been able to finish due to time constraints. Both books are related to local history in Piqua.

“I plan to take the month of August off. I want to sleep in, drink my coffee, read the paper, and enjoy the day. That is unless my wife has other plans for me!” Oda joked.

He is also involved in several organizations throughout Piqua and Miami County including, the Johnston Farm Board, the Piqua Planning Commission, the Miami County Planning Commission, the Miami County Board of Elections, and the city of Piqua’s Community Diversity Committee.

Oda wants to thank his staff and the library patrons for supporting the library during his time there.

“Make sure you keep supporting the library. The community needs it. It needs a central organization that is devoted to promoting literacy, history, music, and fun. This library strives to be more than just a library. We want to be a community center and provide assistance to any community member,” Oda stated.

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