I entered a new decade in age categories this week. It's scary but exciting to realize that the first digit corresponds to retirement ages. I took a little time to realize how important libraries have been to me throughout my life so I hope reminiscing can be forgiven.
My first library experience took place in Hornick, a small Iowa town that had a tiny brick building open two afternoons a week. When I close my eyes and think about it I can still smell the heating stove that sat in a corner and visualize Miss Eileen who personified the spinster librarian with her hair in a bun.
In those days the visits of the Woodbury County bookmobile to our school were a monthly event to look forward to. We each were allowed to choose two books that were placed in the classroom and shared by all. Did you know the vehicle is different but the service is still running?
My parents also took my brothers and me to the Onawa Public Library where I loved to sit in front of the fireplace. That was where I participated in my first summer reading program, receiving a small prize for listing the books I read.
When I was in eight-grade my family moved to Sioux City and I discovered the joys of exploring a large library. A friend and I walked almost every week to the Morningside Branch, a trek of over a mile and brought home piles of books. A visit to the downtown library was huge as it sometimes brought a glimpse of the famous Miss Florence Butler who was (gasp) seen on television.
When I was a junior in high school I started working at the Morningside Branch and then on the city bookmobile while the old building was torn down and replaced. The next four years I worked in the acquisitions department of the UNI library while taking library science classes. After that came a year as a school librarian and five years of substitute teaching.
A stint at the Harlan Public Library as the story lady and summers at the Sioux City Public Library covering vacations of the bookmobile and branch librarians helped me realize that my heart was with public library work. I felt very fortunate to be selected as the new children's librarian for the Cherokee Public Library when Rowena Steinberg retired in 1984. Likewise when Pat Ellerbroek hung up her director's cap in 1993.
Always in love with books, always in love with libraries, truly in love with bookmobiles but not so in love with computers...that's me.
Please note: the library will stay on the summer open hours schedule of Monday & Thursday 10 a.m. through 8 p.m., Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday 10 a.m. through 5 p.m. and Saturday 10 a.m. to noon through Labor Day weekend.