Sarah Peden is now the assistant librarian at the Cheatham County Library on Frey Street in Ashland City.
Peden, who is originally from Rochester, N.Y., also lived in Tallahassee, Fla., before her family moved to Pegram in 2007. She is the oldest of nine children. Her parents, Darryl and Elizabeth Peden, live in Pegram.
“My dad’s a structural designer, so we moved where there was work,” she said.
Peden was hired last April after having worked at the South Cheatham Library as well as having previously worked at the Frey Street library.
“I worked here as a clerk back in 2014 for a couple of months,” said Peden, who uses “sarahthelibrarygirl” as a social media handle. “But I was also at Janet’s (South Cheatham Librarian Walker’s) library right after finishing high school.”
She also worked at the Humbolt Library in West Tennessee as children’s librarian for the past six years before returning to the Cheatham County library.
“I was homeschooled (some of her sisters went to Harpeth Hall in Nashville), and we had a library a block away from the house where I grew up,” Peden said. “So, we would walk there a lot to get books for reading or for school work. So, I basically grew up on a library. That drew me to thinking about working in a library as something I might want to do.
“I had a lot of really great children’s librarians and young adult librarians that were great book club leaders and fostered my love for being involved in libraries. I found out you could go to school and get your master’s degree in library science, and I knew that’s what I’m gonna do.”
She received her undergraduate degree from Bryan College in Dayton, Tenn., and a master’s degree in science and information science from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville.
“I really love the books and connecting people with books,” she said. “Being able to have good conversations with people whether they’re kids or grown up is wonderful. Working with kids for the past six years and seeing that moment where for a kid the light bulb turns on and they become a reader is exciting, and it tells me that alright, I did something good here.”
Peden reflected on her time at the South Cheatham Library.
“With Janet (Walker), I first started to see the importance of the library as a community center,” she said. “In Kingston Springs the library often interacts with all the businesses on Main Street, like at Halloween. Here in Ashland City, we’re next to UT Extension and the county health department and they use they use the library. Plus, we have a community space for 4-H programs. Over the past few months here with May (Lingner) I see more the political entity that a library is and seeing it work as part of the whole county. Here we are right up street from Sycamore Square. We’ve fostered a relationship with the county mayor. We need local government to be supportive.”
Peden also has a few goals she has set for herself.
“Number one is to create more space in the children’s area,” she said. “I’m committed to getting to know the children’s book collection better in order to serve families in our community.”
Cheatham County Librarian May Lingner is impressed with Peden.
“Her work ethic and her demeanor are always cheerful,” said Lingner. “She’s brilliant. She loves the library, and her passion shows it in her work. She’s a great support to me. She jumps in and gets things done. If I have to be away, I know the library is in good hands.”
She admits to being hooked on playing video games that are farming-related, and she recently sent Lingner a sample of that passion by accident.
Janet Walker, who made Peden aware of the assistant director’s job opening, also sang her praises for Peden.
“I knew her first as a patron about 12 years ago now,” said Walker. “She and her family are patrons. She’s a very special young lady. She loves books and literature. She’s grown and blossomed and has become such a wonderful librarian.”