040617 Waccamaw Library: Former teacher found her calling as librarian
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Tamara McIntyre, right, with Carlethia Rudolph.
Tanya Ackerman/Coastal Observer

--> Waccamaw Library: Former teacher found her calling as librarian

By Nikki Best
Coastal Observer

It’s a typical morning at the Waccamaw Library.

The sounds of slightly hushed conversations pervade the silence in front of and behind the counter. Keys click on silenced keyboards, book pages shuffle and old men gossip. The phone’s startling ring catches the attention of those nearby.

“Should I just answer it, Carl,” the branch’s new head manager, Tamara McIntyre, asked the outgoing manager, Carlethia Rudolph. It’s probably for Rudolph anyway.

“Yes ma’am,” she said.

“Hello, this is Tamara,” McIntyre said. “Can I tell her who’s calling?”

After 26 years at the library, Rudolph is retiring. She’s really doing it this time. McIntyre will take over operations of the library this month.

“It’s been a whirlwind,” McIntyre said.

McIntyre and her family arrived in Litchfield on March 29. Two days later, she hit the ground running, reporting for duty at the library.

“We were ready for a change,” she said. “Beach life should be good.”

McIntyre wasn’t always a librarian. It was an urge she didn’t know she had. She was a school teacher. She loved learning and helping others learn, but after serving terms with AmeriCorps and spending time in a classroom setting, something shifted.

“My husband tells me one day I came home and said, ‘I want to be a librarian,’” McIntyre said. “It kind of came out of left field.”

So just after she finished her first masters in education at Johns Hopkins in Baltimore, she went back to school again. This time to pursue a masters in library science online. This led her to working at a library at Penn State, where her husband Justin was attending college.

Then it was onto the University of South Carolina for Justin’s graduate school and her first real job as a librarian.

“I had a great opportunity to work in the state library there,” she said.

She and her husband returned to where they grew up in western Pennsylvania after he graduated. He worked doing typical office work, no chance of using his newly acquired advanced history degree. She worked as the director for Pendergrast Library in Jamestown, N.Y., but it still didn’t feel right.

“It was a long commute,” she said. “It was a great experience, but as time goes on you’re just ready for something different.”

They always remembered South Carolina fondly, but Columbia was too hot, she said.

“We decided if we came back, we wanted to live in the Greenville area or the coast,” she said. “We liked Columbia, but I mean it’s even in their marketing, ‘famously hot.’”

Rudolph will be missed, but McIntyre is ready to take over. Something was said about McIntyre putting on her “big girl panties” and being ready for what’s coming.

Following this extra month on duty, Rudolph is ready for Bermuda. Quiet time at home is different than the muted liveliness of the library.

“She’ll do just fine,” Rudolph said.

McIntyre, her husband and daughter Cora, 2, are ready to make Pawleys Island their long term home. “There’s a lot to take in and learn, but that’s part of the challenge,” McIntyre said. They are thankful for the opportunity that brought them here.

“It was an easy decision,” she said. “I was looking for a place where the community supported the library and that’s what I feel this community really does.”

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