By Meredith McCulloch
Ray Barry will retire as the Bedford Free Public Library’s Building Superintendent on Friday, May 31. The community is invited to drop by the library meeting room between 1 and 2:30 pm that afternoon for a slice of cake and an opportunity to wish Ray a good retirement.
Many of the public know Ray as someone who could assist when using the meeting room or struggling with one of the library computers. Always ready to help and a good problem solver, Barry has consistently contributed to the library beyond his basic duties of maintaining the building.
Library Director Richard Callaghan said, “Ray was an invaluable member of the library staff for almost 24 years. His knowledge, expertise, and drive were instrumental in numerous projects including the addition and renovation of the building, increasing the access to computers, installing the wireless network, and making sure the library was kept in excellent condition. Ray will be missed, and we wish him a happy retirement!”
Former Library Director Meredith McCulloch recalls, “When Ray arrived at the library nearly 25 years ago, construction of the building addition project was just beginning, and the library had fewer than a dozen dumb terminals on the Minuteman Library Network. Barry became a self-taught expert on the in-house network, now numbering 55 PCs that support all of the services provided through the Minuteman Network.” He is proud that with careful maintenance, not once did the Bedford Library have a virus on its system.
Barry recalls several challenges in caring for the building. “I painted the ceilings and even snow blowed the roof,” he said. One major mess occurred when there was a leak in the chiller on the roof that remained hidden inside its insulation wrapping. The water eventually found its way to the Children’s Room with a foot of water on the floor. Miraculously, few of the books were damaged, but the cleanup was challenging.
Barry was involved in the recent installation of four new study booths on the main floor. He is also proud of the energy and taxpayer dollars he saved by obtaining a grant for converting all the lights to LED.
Jennifer Dalrymple, Head of Circulation, another long-term staff member, summed it up, “Ray is important to the Bedford Library in so many ways. Ever since he started here, he has literally grown with the library – from the building of the addition to the many facets of the Library’s continuously expanding technology. More important is the way Ray takes care of the library community. He is eager to assist with whatever is needed – all you need to do is ask because he can do and fix anything. He knows just the right time to bring in a “staff pick-me-up” for a coffee break – think bagels or banana bread or a great story. He is irreplaceable, and we will miss him greatly.”