Eleanor Hensley Retires '16 Years of Service
When Eleanor Hensley answered an ad to work at the Towanda Township Library, she anticipated working as an aide or an assistant. Instead, she was amazed to be offered the position of librarian! Despite her lack of library experience, Eleanor accepted the challenge, and served as librarian for the next 16 years. Her long and successful career concluded on June 30, 1987, her last day of work before retiring, Towanda residents showed their appreciation to Eleanor at a retirement tea, hosted by the Library Board, on June 28. A large crowd stopped by to chat and honor their librarian. Board President Hank Thomassen presented Eleanor with a plaque, complementing her on her years of dedication and service. Eleanor admitted that working in a library had not always been a dream of hers. "When I was young, I thought that a Library was a dark, dreary place where no one dared make a sound," she said with a smile. "Now, of course, I know better! Libraries are bright, cheery places with lots of good things going on." Many changes have occurred at Towanda Library during Eleanor's tenure. "When I started out, the card catalog sat out on a table in boxes," she said. The collection at Towanda was also very small - "everyone had read everything, which was a problem." But through Eleanor's efforts, Towanda's library became an important and visable part of the community. As a lifelong area resident, she knew her community and developed programs accordingly. She was instrumental in developing story hours, reading clubs and a record collection. Circulation has increased, and the library's hours have expanded. Longtime library board member Emerson Guth credited Eleanor for her hard work in learning her position. "Eleanor really educated herself on how to be a librarian," Guth said. "She wasn't afraid to learn things, and was always willing to pick up new ideas." "There were alot of things I didn't know," Eleanor admitted, "but I wasn't afraid to ask." In addition to workshops, she also enjoyed visiting other libraries to observe their setups. Eleanor gave credit to the many volunteers in Towanda who helped the library over the years. "Our people are wonderful," she said, "and they really gave the library a boost and were always there when I needed help." She also acknowledged the CBLS staff and services with helping to make her job easier. "The people at Corn Belt have been most helpful," she said, "and of course Interlibrary Loan gives us much more flexibility in serving our patrons. We are no longer limited to just books or to just the things we could afford to buy."
Towanda Library Board President Hank Thomassen presents Eleanor Hensley with a plaque at her Retirement Tea.
Despite her obvious enthusiasm for her job, Eleanor is looking forward to retirement. "It seems I'm always thinking about books; now I can give my brain a rest!" she laughed. She plans to spend more time with her grandchildren, to visit a daughter in Arizona, and to travel with her husband. She also hopes to "visit all the libraries I missed!" Even though she has retired, Eleanor plans to visit the library often. She claims to have liked everything about her job, "except the overdues! And I know I'll miss the people terribly." Perhaps the best testimony to Eleanor were the smiles and greetings of the many people who attended her tea. She has said that she will miss the many people whose lives she touchedand they will miss her as well. The CBLS salutes Eleanor Hensley, and we wish her a happy and fulfilling retirement.
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