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Staff Profiles: Rhonda Smith

If sung (quietly, of course) at the Waynesboro Public Library, the Beach Boys refrain of “Help me Rhonda” might trigger a real response in the form of our own Rhonda Smith, complete with her ready smile, her 24 years of library know-how and her helpful disposition.

Rhonda started working for the Library in 1991 as a Librarian Aide. Over the years, she has advanced to her current position as Circulation Desk Manager, where she manages her “family” (i.e., the desk staff). Rhonda says listening is an important job skill. She acts as both enabler–she runs the phone tree, which automatically calls you to let you know your requested book is in–and enforcer–if you hang on to that book for too long, you will get to talk directly with Rhonda in person. Those who know Rhonda won’t be surprised to learn that she is a go-to person when weird stuff happens. The videos wafting a certain essence of skunk or the books the dog ate–you know, that sort of weird.

No talk about Rhonda would be complete without mentioning her other family, which is a team all by itself. About her 83 year old mother Ernestine, Rhonda says “Alzheimer’s will make you humble.” Rhonda and her husband Carl have three daughters and four grandchildren. Daughter Lavette has three children: Jadaciss, a junior at Waynesboro High School with a 3.8 GPA and a mainstay on the football team (for more on Lavette and Jadaciss, see the Zach Pereles article in the August 5, 2015 edition of the News Virginian); DaMillion, a WHS freshman with a 4.0 GPA and a full scholarship at JMU, also playing freshman football; and Michaela, a 7th grader on the Kate Collins girls volleyball team. Daughter Carla has a daughter named Dynasti who is six years old. Daughter Tia is studying at BCU, is in the Air Force Reserve, and plans on a nursing career.

All of the above makes for a busy and crowded domestic life, but Rhonda does find her own quiet time. For example, there was that cold and rainy Friday night football game at Broadway a year or two ago, when Rhonda sat more or less by herself, wrapped up and protecting her new hairdo.  Come to think of it, that night was probably not too quiet, but cold and rainy does have a way of thinning out a crowd. Broadway won, but that doesn’t mean that Rhonda’s team lost.

So, the next time you’re in the Library, hum a few bars (quietly, of course) from the Beach Boys Rhonda tune and you may get to meet the real deal herself.

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