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Upton librarian retiring on May 31

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Mary Stroka, NLJ Reporter

Branch manager reflects on her 35 years serving the community

For 35 years, Sherri Randall has served Weston County library lovers. She’s now preparing for her retirement.

Her last day as the Upton Branch manager will be May 31, Weston County Library System board Chair Deb Smith said in a phone interview on April 5.

Randall, who spoke by phone on March 28 with the News Letter Journal, said that she became an assistant librarian in Weston County in 1980 and 1981. She was hired in 1989 to replace the retiring branch librarian. A few years later, she became branch manager.

One of the largest impacts on her library career was the advent of computers in the library.

“[They] plunked it on the desk and said, ‘Learn how to use it,’” she said.

While that’s not literally what happened, it’s “basically” what happened, according to Randall. She believes the library installed its first computer in 1992. It had dial-up internet access. When she began working for the library, the books still had pockets for book cards to track due dates. Those, along with the paper card catalog, are now gone, in favor of data on computers.

“Technology has changed the library world,” she said.

In an email on April 8, Randall said that the Upton Branch Library now has
two computers, as well as wi-fi inside and outside of
the building, available for public use.

Randall said that while it’s hard to envision, she anticipates that in the years to come, the physical presence of the library will not be as strong as it currently is. For example, there may be a reduction in books on library shelves because more people will “go digital.”

However, she foresees that, for decades to come, there will be a need for the community building called “a library.”

“We still need a community gathering place, a place for kids to go and have a program,” she said. “People still don’t have access to some computers and printers, and so we’re still vital for that.”

Smith said Randall has been instrumental in promoting the library among children and the general public. For example, Randall runs a program where children can come to the library to build different things with Legos.

Randall anticipates enjoying life with her husband in the decades to come.

“After 35 years, I’m ready to stay home,” Randall said.

Smith said she has not yet set a time with Randall for her retirement party, as the organizational priority has been on the retirement of Weston County Library System Director Brenda Mahoney-Ayres, who is retiring a month earlier.

“Hopefully, the community will come out and express their appreciation to both of these women who have done so much and committed so many years of their lives to the libraries,” Smith said.

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