March 18, 2018

Darcy Cahill | Movers & Shakers 2004

Finding Opportunity


Three months after Darcy Cahill was promoted to head the Randallstown branch of the Baltimore County Public Library (BCPL), at 6 a.m. on a Saturday morning, the branch suffered a devastating fire. When firefighters finally contained the blaze, she was shocked to see the building drenched and in disarray. ‘But the feeling I had was, we have an opportunity to make this building the best it could be,’ Cahill says.

As BCPL assistant director Deborah Wheeler recounts, ‘Within hours, [Cahill] began reassuring the staff, informing the public, communicating with the administrative and governmental officials, and planning for the future.’

The library, with a daily visitor count of 2000, is set in a highly diverse area that includes many African Americans as well as Russian immigrants. It is one of the few community centers. Cahill and her colleagues soon organized a minilibrary, using a doublewide trailer in the branch parking lot. It included a children’s ‘wing,’ an adult section, a Russian-language section, a computer lab with ten computers–even a reference service, sans print sources.

Meanwhile, despite the strictures of insurance coverage–which paid for a restoration, not a renovation of the 1967 building–Cahill saw opportunities. By changing the layout of collections and shelving units, the facility gained clearer sight lines. She led staff in reinventing the branch, changing collections and how they deliver service. Together, they created BCPL’s first teen area.

‘Her tireless efforts to rebuild never left behind the most important ingredient in the equation: the staff,’ says Wheeler. Now that she’s reinvented her branch, Cahill looks forward to ‘new opportunities to make the best contribution.’




Current Position: Manager, Randallstown Branch, Baltimore County Public Library, Towson, MD
Degree: AMLS, University of Michigan, 1980
Favorite reference question (from a teenager): ‘Do you have a book that will tell me if I’m in love?’ (Answer: ‘Yes’)
Hobby : Avid gardener and traveler