Officials broke ground on the new Perry Hall Library in May 2008, at the time, just a dirt-filled lot along Honeygo Boulevard. Darcy Cahill, then-manager of the Randallstown Library, vividly remembers the day.
"It was such a wonderful event with a reception afterward in the little, old Perry Hall Library, and the thought came to me, 'I wonder if I will ever be lucky enough to work in this branch,'" Cahill said.
Months later, Cahill was transferred to Perry Hall to lead the library's opening and introduction to the community.
"It truly was a dream come true," she said.
But after more than three years as Perry Hall's manager, Cahill is moving on to a new challenge. On Monday, she started her post as manager of the Cockeysville branch—the county's biggest and busiest library, with more than double Perry Hall's circulation.
Library manager Amanda Myers has been transferred from the Pikesville branch to take her place.
Cahill, an 18-year vetaran of the Baltimore County Public Library system, said her transfer was unexpected but not uncommon. With each promotion, the Rogers Forge resident has also moved locations—from Towson, to Rosedale, to Pikesville, to Randallstown, to Perry Hall, now to Cockeysville.
Her move away from Perry Hall, however, has been the most emotional, she said.
"Opening this branch was, without a doubt, the highlight of my career," Cahill said, wiping tears from her eyes.
Among Cahill's successes as manager: a strong relationship between the library and community organizations, a growing circulation, record-breaking summer reading participation and consistently higher-than-anticipated foot traffic.
Cahill has also played hostess to countless meetings and events, including the Perry Hall Improvement Association's monthly meetings, an ongoing speaker series and the countywide Taste of the Town library system fundraiser.
She takes little credit for herself, instead complimenting fellow staffers and active community members.
"Every time I have done a big project at the library, what I remember is that it's all about teamwork," Cahill said.
"One thing I learned was how eager Perry Hall was for a bigger library. The activity level in the first month was double what we expected ... they have supported the library beyond all expectations," she added.
Cahill told of the library's second day in operation, when a children's story time was planned.
"I was just curious, would there be anyone there at all? On day two at 9:30 a.m., there were 28 in the room. It was packed with mothers and children ... It was wonderful to know that this was going to be a place where children would grow up," she said.
Library staff members tell of Cahill's devotion to the branch and larger community.
"She is very involved. I would definitely see her as a community leader. She plays a huge role with the Perry Hall Friends and would attend any of the Perry Hall Improvement Association meetings," said staff member Nicole McLain.
Maria Epperley, another staff member, agreed: "She always was there to greet customers. If there was a problem, she took the time to sit down and listen to them. She really represented the library to the community."
"She made that transition successfully as we moved from the old branch to a new library. She helped nurture the Friends of the Perry Hall Library, and she always accommodated the community. When the BCPL Foundation hosted its annual event at the library, the Perry Hall branch shined," Marks stated.
"She's succeeded because she is friendly, accommodating to the community, and because she's in a job she loves," he stated.
"Her enthusiasm and obvious love for the library system generally—and the new Perry Hall Branch in particular—were infectious," Smith stated. "I was immediately struck by just how lucky that the Perry Hall community was to have the chance to get to know this special person, once the new library was officially open."
Cahill said she is looking forward to managing the Cockeysville branch, and has encouraged Myers to be as active as possible in the Perry Hall community.
In Cahill's final days working at the branch, she spent time reading some of the thousands of paper stars taped to the counter in the children's area. As part of the summer reading club's "Dream Big" theme, participants wrote out and posted their hopes and goals.
"I'm keeping some of my favorites. I'll have them on the wall with me in Cockeysville. I really wanted a memory of our kids," Cahill said.
"I'm sure I'll take a few more things as well, but mainly, I'm taking absolutely marvelous memories. It's been library heaven," she said.
How has the new Perry Hall Library impacted you and your family? Share your memories and tell us in the comments.