SIDNEY — A little more than two months ago, Amanda Eastin started a new adventure, moving from a small town southeast of Grand Island to a bigger "small town" in the Panhandle.

Eastin was hired as the new librarian for the Sidney Public Library.

"It's nice. It's comfortable," Eastin said about her first impressions of Sidney.

She came to Sidney from Clay Center, Neb., southeast of Grand Island with Hastings as the nearest larger community. Prior to Sidney, she managed the library in Sutton, Neb.

"We had a nice time," she said.

She said small town libraries exist because of the community support. She says libraries have to always be aware of and adapt to community needs and interests.

"You have to evolve with the times," she said.

She said the Sidney Public Library is more than a collection of books. It is developing a seed library, a crochet club and the garden club meet at the library. There is also a "Free Speech" group for teens. Teens are invited to meet at the library where they can talk about a specific topic they have chosen. Participants decide in one meeting what they will talk about in the next.

"I always have something prepared" in case participants don't decide on an idea. The concept is to set a "safe space" for youth to talk and be heard. 

While her duties and title are manager and library director, her view is more of team leader. She says she sees herself as part of the team. She also encourages people to explore what the library has to offer, from the public computers to the MakerSpace lab. The library also offers music CDs and movie DVDs. 

"If Sidney doesn't have it, we can borrow it from another library," she said.

She has a history of hard work: fast food, hazmat training, college mascot, and archivist to name a few. 

"I think my work history helps" in relating to people, she said.