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Librarian’s retirement party will conclude 22 years of service

By Staff | May 17, 2017

CAROL SHETLER/The Luminary Sue Thomas, for 22 years a librarian at the Montgomery Public Library, closes the book on her career while remaining a loyal patron.

MONTGOMERY – A celebratory ending will conclude the twenty-two years of service for the retiring librarian at the Montgomery Public Library. Susan Thomas will be honored with cake and refreshments on site at 3 p.m., Saturday, May 21. The public is cordially invited.

In 1995, Thomas began as a part-timer mentoring under then Librarian Carolyn (Carrie Barnhart) Blain.

“I was a regular patron at the library and Carrie was very helpful getting books needed from around the state. On one of my visits, I inquired as to job openings and there happened to be one,” Thomas said.

For two years they worked together until Blain’s retirement in December 1996. Then Thomas worked alone for some time before an assistant was hired. Duties included the annual summer reading program, encouraging children to read, buying and processing books, building maintenance and keeping library patrons happy.

In 2004, the director applied for and received a grant for renovation to the stately structure at what was formerly the town’s First National Bank. Thomas describes how the site at the corner of Main Street and Houston Avenue was taken back to its original early 1900’s appearance.

Thomas said that, “For ten weeks, all materials were placed offsite. The drop ceiling was removed, electrical lighting and air conditioning installed, painting, and carpeting. This occurred during 2005.”

Of the reopening she said, “It was extremely tedious as all shelving, desks and books had to be put back in place. The results were worth it as the library looks wonderful with its 25 foot ceilings, ornate plaster and walnut wood.”

In 2014, a project to replace the widows began. To fund the project, over $65,000 was raised by the library, individuals and grants. “The huge windows were not energy efficient. This time the library was closed for two-months. We have saved on heating and cooling resulting from the double pane glass,” Thomas said.

In retrospect, Thomas said, “Working at the library these many years, I’ve watched children grow up. Seeing them as college students, then adults, has been rewarding.”

Of her mentor Carrie Blain, Thomas said, “Working with her was a wonderful experience. She was very knowledgeable about Montgomery history. Even after retiring I’d phone Carrie many times to help with patrons seeking historical information. I miss her help and friendship since she passed away last year.”

Thomas cherishes her years at the library, and she has enjoyed seeing patrons every day in this small-town atmosphere.

Of her future, she said, “I’m a bibliophile. I love books, and reading, and will continue by being a loyal patron at the Montgomery Library.”