(02/05/14) - During Black History Month, the Genesee District Library honors local men, women and organizations in the African American community.
This week, ABC12 News will highlight five honorees who come from different walks of life, but have one thing in common - the desire to make a difference in their community.
Wednesday, we honor Carolyn Nash.
Even though she has a background in banking, it wasn't until she moved to Flint in 1987 that she discovered her true calling when she was hired on as a part-time employee with the Genesee District Library.
"My experience had been in banking," she said. "So naturally I went in my little banker suit. They put me in a dusty little corner, sending out recorded books to the blind and physically handicapped," she said.
After a brief layoff, Nash was brought back on as a full time employee with the library.
"I enjoyed working with the blind and physically handicapped because we provided materials for them to read. Later on, we provided descriptive audio, where they can watch movies with the audio description," she said.
Over the years, she would rise through the ranks of the GDL. Eventually she would become the Director of Human Resource and then eventually lead the district.
"I had no intention of applying for it," she said. "The night before the deadline, I sent in my resume. When the board chair called and said 'Carolyn, we'd like to offer you the position', I said 'all spit.'
After much thought in 2006, Nash would become the GDL's first African American executive director. During her tenure, she navigated the GDL through tough economic times, but also lead the charge in bringing new technology to the district.
"I'm really proud of the digital branch. It allows our patrons to read materials online. On their iPhone, on their iPad or any device," she said. "We started Freegal, which allows our patrons to download music."
After a career in the library system that spans 25 plus years, Nash retired as director in 2013. Her commitment to the community is still strong, as she works closely with the Food Bank of Eastern Michigan.
"I like to be out in the community, meeting people, talking to people. I like to do whatever I can do to help Genesee County advance," she said.
The Genesee District Library will honor Carolyn Nash and others this Saturday during the annual Black History Month Brunch. The brunch will be held at the Riverfront Banquet Center in Flint.
ABC12 Main Station