WALLINGFORD — A familiar face has returned to the Wallingford Public Library, and this time it's in the facility's top spot.
Sunnie Scarpa was the children's librarian in Wallingford for six years before taking a position as the library director at the E.C. Scranton Memorial Library in Madison. This week, she returned to Wallingford as its new director.
"I did love my experience here. It's a really great place to work," she said of her first stint at the Wallingford Public Library. "You are doing very meaningful work and there is great community support, so it was fantastic the first time around."
She left Wallingford for the head librarian position in Madison because she was ready for career advancement, Scarpa said. "That was lovely as well," she said, though they were challenging times because that library was in the middle of a renovation that wrapped up during the pandemic.
The Massachusetts native moved to New Haven to earn a master's in library science at Southern Connecticut State University. She began her career at the New Haven Free Public Library as the teen librarian, and was there until she came to Wallingford in 2013. She left Wallingford in 2019 for the position in Madison.
"I really, really enjoyed my time in Madison and I was not looking to leave, but when the position opened in Wallingford, it's really … a wonderful step for my career," she said.
“This is a library that's twice as big, the town is twice as big, with a really, really talented staff and board here, which was also the case in Madison," she added.
She chose a career in library science because it combines three of her loves, she said.
"It's the combination of loving books, loving people and loving organization," she said. "I'm a people person who loves to read. I like the organization and those are the common themes. When you work at the front desk, you're answering people's questions, you're providing them help really directly. But then as I became a manager, you're helping your staff and making sure that they have the resources that they need to give the best quality service. And now as an administrator, I'm doing the same things on a big-picture level. I'm making sure we have the correct policies, the budget that we need to do our best work, and overseeing professional development.
“At the library, you organize the books but you also organize the organization.That's what I do now."
And doing it in Wallingford is really special, she said.
"It's a really great career step and a great step for me personally," she said. "I live in town, I'm helping my own community and it really is a special library to work at. I'm very happy to be back."