Thirty-seven years is a long time. A lot has changed since 1982. For the Elkland Area Community Library, one of the biggest changes, starting in July, will be not having Rosemary Hackett behind the circulation desk.
Hackett has been an integral member of the library staff since 1982 and has been involved in many of the changes that have made the library what it is today.
Many of the changes that have taken place in the library are due in large part to an annual donation from the Ellison Foundation that started the year Hackett became a librarian. The donation helped the library, which didn’t have a lot of financial support at the time, get its feet under it.
“Once we established everything and started getting some funding, we were able to set some money aside and look at buildings,” Hackett said. After some consideration, the library staff decided to settle in a building that was being used by Citizens and Northern.
A snowstorm during the first winter after the library had relocated from Main Street, caused the roof to cave in and turned out to be a unique opportunity for the library staff. The staff decided to use insurance money claimed from the roof collapse to renovate the downstairs portion of the library. Over time, the staff put extra funds from donations and support to fixing the upstairs.
Over the years Hackett helped the library staff navigate the changes smoothly and was vital to the growth of the library. As the library grew and changed Hackett remained a familiar face for visitors.
“My favorite memories are the fact that the people who come here sort of become friends. You know what they like to take out so you tell them if a certain author has a new book or if they have been ill or sometimes you ask how they are feeling. They become a part fo the library family,” Hackett said.
While Hackett has built bonds with many of the visitors, overall she has seen a decline in library members. Part of the decline in visitors has been due to the changes in technology over the years. “I think, actually people have dropped away from the library more than I would like because they have everything instantly at home,” Hackett said.
Another change Hackett mentioned was the authors on the shelves. Hackett said it’s hard to have a favorite author because so many of her favorite authors have passed away. “Today the authors are all so different. We have a lot more authors but I don’t have a lot of favorites,” Hackett said.
Although the library isn’t as busy as it used to be, it still serves the community in many ways by offering books, movies, internet and the summer reading program all of which Hackett played a role in providing for the community.
Hackett sees the library as a second home after all the years she has spent there. Though she may be retiring from behind the circulation desk Hackett still plans to spend time in the library reading and checking out new books. Having more time to read and also to spend more time with her grandchildren are are two of the things she is looking forward to most in retirement.