Dellana Diovisalvo wanted to learn the operations of a library inside and out before taking on a leadership role.
It all began with a circulation clerk position at the Waltham Library in Massachusetts while she was working on her master’s degree in creative writing through the Vermont College of Fine Arts.
“That’s where I first started my love affair with libraries,” she said.
The Vernon, N.J. native eventually moved to Pennsylvania to be closer to her family. There, she found a job with the Eastern Monroe Public Library Bookmobile, which made her realize the career path she wanted to pursue.
After moving through two other library positions in Monroe County, Diovisalvo became a stay-at-home mother for a few years. Eventually, she pursued a second master’s degree in library science through an online program with Clarion University.
Her career later brought her to the Pike County Public Library, where most recently, she served as its acquisitions and cataloging librarian.
Next week, Diovisalvo takes over as executive director of the Tunkhannock Public Library, and giving patrons back their library experience while keeping everyone safe is her first priority.
Coming from a library which has already reopened its doors in the COVID-19 pandemic, she’s up for the challenge.
When Diovisalvo first researched the Tunkhannock Library, she found its programming impressive. She commended its staff for not only keeping the community engaged throughout the library’s closure, but running it as the board searched for a new director.
This shows a strong, dedicated staff who loves what they do, she said.
Her love of libraries goes beyond books. For Diovisalvo, libraries serve as a “great equalizer” and a place for everyone.
“Every single person is welcome in a library and that’s something that is near and dear to my heart,” she said.
After years of serving in different library capacities, she feels best suited for a position that allows her to engage with people. Even while being a cataloger in Pike County, she continued offering a writing group and a weekly story time from her former program coordinator position.
“I love books, but I think I like people a little more,” she said.
Her second priority as director is to get a feel for what the community wants in its library. Also, she plans to push for more online programming, especially since the pandemic isn’t over.
TPL Board President Ann Way spoke highly of Diovisalvo and believes her diverse library experiences will equip her to “hit the ground running” in Tunkhannock when she starts on Sept. 21.
“She has a passion for offering library services. I think in her career path, she’s ready to be an executive director, and I think she’s going to be a good one,” Way said.
The board hired Rose Chiocchi, director of the Pike County Public Library, as a consultant to help with the search for a new director. Pennsylvania Library Association President Michele Legate has also gave a lot of support, Way said.
She also gave credit to the library’s former director, Kristin Smith-Gary, who prepared a reopening plan prior to her retirement in June.
The board believed it was key to hire a new director before offering anything beyond curbside pickup and outdoor book sales.
“We certainly want her to look at getting us back open in some way beyond the curbside as soon as we can,” Way said of the new director.