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Palm Coast People: Holly Albanese

Every year, Christmas cards flood the post office. But rarely do any of these cards change someone’s life. One year, Holly Albanese received a Christmas card from a college friend. The card read “Libraries seem to be your niche.” Perhaps this was the start of Flagler County Library Director Holly Albanese.
Originally from Rhode Island, her humble beginnings cultivated a work ethic that has taken her far. This principle of “make it work” has been a constant. There was little expectation of wealth and prestige in her future. That was not the life her parents knew so why would she expect it for herself?
Her mother was a nurse, and when Holly realized this was not her calling, she graduated from Rhode Island College with a degree in psychology. During her undergraduate years she was a student employee in the library. After graduation, Bryant University hired her for their circulation department.
In hindsight, a career in libraries seems so obvious. Holly had spent every day of grade school and high school in the library. She had worked in the campus library throughout her undergraduate degree. “The library is a constant and a second home,” she says. “I always loved it, but it wasn’t until that Christmas card, where I was reminded, this was part of my life. To do more than what I was doing.”
That Christmas card came just in time. She had worked for nearly ten years in Bryant University’s library and wanted to do more. Soon after, she would earn Masters Degrees for both Public Administration and Library and Information Sciences. She then spent nearly six years as Library Director at the Hope Public Library before moving to Florida in 2004 to be closer to her parents.
After a year and a half into a position as a librarian for the Florida Metropolitan University in Jacksonville, a position opened in Palm Coast. Holly was accepted into the position on July 3, 2006. With her came that “make it work” mentality she carries with her still.
As the county grew through the 2010s, the nation faced an economic downturn. As is often the case, the library was one of the last to receive funding. The library is viewed less as a necessity, and more for quality of life.
While the library was losing state aid, Holly ensured they received multiple grants and, in January 2008, opened a passport service desk. To date, they have earned $1.2 million in revenue from this service. This money was used to buy new shelving, computers, and renovations for the Doug Cisney room to use for programs and meetings.
“I knew I could give more,” Holly says, pushing more for libraries to better serve and respond to the needs of the community. The goal is to improve quality of life. With the work, experience, and outcomes she provides, the county has tasked her with several more projects beyond the library.
Despite the several positions and roles she must play in county leadership, she still holds love for the library system. “I cannot take the credit for all the positive things that happen to this library,” she says. “I could have all the ideas in the world, but without this team to make it happen, it is not going to happen.” The next big project she wants to address is a new library in Bunnell.