End of Days

by Kelly

Not to be overly dramatic with the title lead in, but I needed a way to depict the culmination of my library career and there seemed no better phrase than “end of days” to announce this moment in my life. That’s right, after thirty (three/zero) years of library service, I am stowing away my book cart and taking some magic I gathered from this library away on my new adventures.

Thirty years is a long time to do anything, no matter how enjoyable it is. My library career began by chance in 1992 when I was assigned a position at Central Michigan University’s Park Library as part of my financial aid work-study award. Whether assigned by fate or chance, the four years I spent on the second floor reference department ended up being influential enough to set the trajectory of my life.

Upon my college graduation, I briefly returned home (to Sheridan) to get my affairs in order, stopping only long enough to rest for the summer. Or so I thought. As fate would have it, again, a local library was hiring. My college degree was in sport marketing and management, not libraries. I had other plans. But, at the urging of my mother, I applied, thinking I would stay only long enough to save some money before I headed out of town, state, etc. to work for a professional sport venue. Oh boy, was I wrong.

I stayed twenty years at the Flat River Community Library in Greenville, serving the community, planning programs, and learning genealogy and local history. I began teaching classes and running clubs, and completed a huge and lasting project by collaborating with The Daily News to digitize their newspapers and provide perpetual online access to them, a highlight of my career. In 2017, after I felt that I had done all that I could do at FRCL, I moved on to a new county and to the Alvah N. Belding Library.

What I did not know when I first stepped into the Belding Library was that I was stepping into magic. My first huge project on the job was serving on the Centennial Committee to plan and prepare for the library’s 100th anniversary and uncovering and unveiling the library time capsule that was built into the library foundation in 1917, one of the most memorable experiences of my life. Read more about it here  https://www.alvahnbeldinglibrary.org/library-cornerstone-and-time-capsule/cornerstone-removal.pdf/view . Next, I got to participate in three separate paranormal investigations with hopes to uncover the hot topic question is the library haunted? And above everything else, I got to work in a community that truly loves, values, and appreciates the library and everything it has to offer.

It is a magical thing to work in a building that people love to visit, and, working with and for people who love the building and everything that comes in it. In the end, I did not choose to leave this profession because my love for the library faded. Instead, I knew it was time for me to share the love with others. The Alvah N. Belding Library has recently hired a new crew of staff members who walk in each day excited, enthused, and enthralled by the magic that this building creates, just as I have done over the years. There is no better gift for me on my final days of service than to see the generating of new ideas, projects, and programs that are bubbling up from a doorway that I opened that will spill over to positively affect the community.

So, farewell beautiful library. This may be the end of my days…but yours are always just beginning with each new and old face that walks over your threshold and into the magical world that lies within. Thank you for giving me some of the best years of my life, I will miss you and all of your people.

XO, Kelly

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