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County library director joins W.Va. Humanities Council board of directors

By Carlee Lammers, Staff Writer
Megan Tarbett, director of the Putnam County Library, helps library patrons in January 2016. File photo

The way Megan Tarbett sees it, participating in humanities programs are an essential part of being a “well-rounded” and successful member of a community.

“If you don’t have the humanities, what do you have?” she said. “At the moment, all the focus is on technology. Things like STEM. Sometimes we have the steam for agriculture, or architecture, or sometimes it’s arts. But without that arm of humanities, you lose the — not just what to think, but how to think part.”

Tarbett, director of the Putnam County Library, is one of two new members on the West Virginia Humanities Council board of directors.

Through her work at the Putnam library and her previous work as a digital resource librarian for the West Virginia Library Commission, Tarbett said she has worked closely with the Humanities Council on several projects in the past. Her aunt has also previously served on the board, she said.

“It was a good relationship. The library always looks forward to working with them,” she said. “It’s always been an organization that I’ve attended their events and supported their organization when I could.”

The West Virginia Humanities Council is a nonprofit organization that works to serve West Virginia through grants and direct programs in the humanities.

For Tarbett, who lives in Hurricane, the Humanities Council is something she believes all West Virginians can benefit from and should embrace.

Without the humanities, she said she believes it would be difficult to embrace other fields like science, agriculture, math and technology.

“The key is to learn how to learn,” she said. “Humanities programs and arts just kind of rounds everybody out. For me, that’s critical for being a successful member of your community.”

As a member of the board, Tarbett said one of her goals is to further the council’s folklorist program.

The Humanities Council has a folklorist on staff, she said, and she thinks that position is vital to keeping West Virginia traditions alive.

“They really showcase the uniqueness of the things we do have here,” she said. “Things that are on the verge of dying out here, maybe by showcasing those, we can get people interested in those so they don’t. ... The more programs we do like that, the more people might be interested in learning a craft or something artisanal that might be on the verge of dying out so it doesn’t.”

Tarbett also serves on the West Virginia Library Commission board, as well as the boards of the American Library Association, Putnam County Convention and Visitors Bureau and the West Virginia Youth Symphony.

Laurie Erickson of Morgantown is also joining Tarbett as a new member on the board. Erickson chairs the Erickson Foundation, which builds alumni centers for colleges and universities in West Virginia.

The Council’s board of directors is composed of 23 citizens from across the state and meets three times a year in varying locations.

For more information on the West Virginia Humanities Council, visit www.wvhumanities.org or call 304-346-8500.


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