Everywhere you turn in Farmingdale you will find Debbie Podolski.
She is the director of the newly-renovated , the president of the one of Long Island's most active and a member of the Rotary Club, the Village of Farmingdale downtown revitalization committee and the .
A native of Queens, Podolski moved to North Massapequa in 2003. As a child, she always enjoyed playing school with her sister.
“There was always a love of reading, especially non-fiction,” said Podolski. “We were the original nerds."
Podolski’s love of reading and learning followed her to college. She attended Queens College and continued after at C.W. Post, hoping to become a teacher.
“Unfortunately at that time there was a bad recession and there weren’t any teaching jobs,” said Podolski. “That’s when I started volunteering at the Port Washington Library.”
It was the director of the Port Washington library who encouraged Podolski to obtain her masters degree in library science.
“I was fascinated by computers and learned a lot about them, which eventually led to my becoming the computer librarian at the Port Washington Library,” she said. Podolski then took her skills to the Nassau library system, where she assisted the 54 other public libraries with their computer technology.
Today, Podolski has helped the library become a destination in Farmingdale. During , the library added more seating space and now offers more than two dozen public access computers. There's also weekly movie showings, computer workshops and exercise classes.
“She did an excellent job turning the library into a technologically advanced learning center.,” said Farmingdale Library Business Manager Therese Rudden.
Podolski has assisted many libraries in developing their own websites and continues to look for ways to integrate technology at the Farmingdale Library, through e-books, mobile QR codes and self-checkout.
“We also recently started to Skype with authors, a first for the library," she said.
The Farmingdale Public Library is currently the eighth highest circulating library in Nassau County.
“It’s thrilling to see that people are still interested in reading and research, something we certainly try to foster in children,” Podolski said. “Reading is the advantage to being successful in life and the best present you can give your child is a free library card."
Besides her work at the library, Podolski has been active in the Rotary Club since 2003.
“Rotary is really a do good kind of organization where you try to help people in your community and the world with different kinds of projects,” she said. Some of her projects with Rotary have included bringing clean water to remote areas of the world, helping local families in need and helping to support children from other countries that need heart surgeries through a program called “Gift of Life.”
“It’s a way to give back to the community and it has been a wonderful experience for me,” she said.
Podolski is the current president of the Farmingdale Chamber of Commerce, where she started out as the secretary a few years ago.
“It seemed I was secretary of everything at first because librarians know how to take notes,” she said. “I have been president for the last four years and my main duties are to gain membership and help promote business in Farmingdale.”
In all her work in Farmingdale, Podolski’s main goal is to make Farmingdale a destination for people to visit.
“I have never worked with or met so many people that have the interest of the community in mind and at heart,” she said.
Podolski always knew that her life would be immersed in books one way or another. She doesn't have any plans of slowing down at the library or in the Farmingdale community.
“They’re going to have to wheel me out,” she laughed. “I love my job, my staff and most of all, what the library can do for people.”