Fiske Library Director Retires
Mary Tobichuk was at the helm of the Fiske Library since 1991. (Photo courtesy Town of Wrentham.)
By Grace Allen
Fiske Public Library Director Mary Tobichuk officially retired on January 15 after 38 years of service to the town of Wrentham. She was at the helm of the Fiske since 1991 but had been a librarian there since 1985.
Tobichuk spearheaded the effort to build a new library to meet community demand for increased library access and community space. The Fiske Library at 110 Randall Road opened in July of 1997. The old town library, located at 55 East Street, is now known as the Old Fiske Museum.
Linda DeVore has worked at the Fiske since 1998. Tobichuk, she says, created a “family-like” atmosphere for the staff.
“She was a visionary, often ahead of her time, and always had the public interest at heart,” said DeVore, who noted Tobichuk leaves an indelible mark on the community.
According to DeVore, Tobichuk helped organize the Fiske’s first “Author Series,” bringing in Dennis Lehane before he became famous. She was also instrumental in expanding the library’s nonfiction history offerings with the support of the Webster Gift Account.
Tobichuk was constantly developing and expanding the library’s programming, offering art classes, cultural music programs, and dance programs for patrons. During the height of the pandemic, she created a “Library of Things” collection.
Kathy Lussier is the Executive Director of the SAILS Library Network, a consortium of public and school libraries in 60 communities in Southeastern Massachusetts. Tobichuk, said Lussier, was one of SAILS’ founding library directors when it was incorporated in 1995, and she was the only one still working as a director in a SAILS library up until her retirement.
“Mary was instrumental in establishing the relationship between the Wrentham schools and SAILS and worked closely with the network to ensure the latest technology was available to Wrentham residents,” said Lussier. “Under Mary’s leadership, the Fiske Library had a strong collection that was always in high demand among SAILS libraries.”
Suzanne Bove is the Chairman of the Fiske Library Trustees. Bove acknowledged Tobichuk’s impact on the community, saying in an email, “Mary Tobichuk has 38 years of service to the Fiske Public Library. As Wrentham has moved with the times, Mary’s leadership has allowed the library to keep pace. She has served the citizens of Wrentham well. The Trustees are grateful.”
A search committee has been formed to find a replacement for Tobichuk. In the meantime, Town Administrator Kevin Sweet has appointed Steve Butzel as Interim Director. Butzel, a consultant, will also perform an operational assessment evaluation of the library for the town and the Trustees.