Retiring hub supervisor at the Crookston Library will be honored at Friday reception.

    The Crookston Friends of the Library, the Crookston Library Board, and Lake Agassiz Regional Library are holding a retirement party for Sr. Eileen Beutel to thank her for her service to the Crookston Library and Lake Agassiz Regional Library on Friday, Feb. 8 from 2 to 4 p.m. at the Crookston Library. There will be a brief program at 3 p.m.     

Those attending will be invited to share stories of Sr. Eileen’s 25 years of service to the library, the community, and the region.          Refreshments will be served.

    Chris Boike has been hired as Beutel’s successor.

    Janelle Brandon, public information/marketing director with LARL, sat down with Beutel to get her thoughts on her career, libraries and the future:

Tell me a little about your library career
    When I graduated from college, my first position was a high school librarian at Mount St. Benedict.  I began working at LARL's Crookston branch in November 1987 as a Library Aide. I became a Library Associate after a couple of years and served as the Sunday Supervisor.  At one point I was the substitute Bookmobile Associate for a month, which I enjoyed. In 1990 I was hired for a temporary position, that of weeding the Crookston Library in preparation for barcoding the collection as we moved into the beginning of an online catalog. I received training for this at the Regional Office.

    I enjoyed several years as an Associate I, particularly doing reference work and providing customer service. People were always appreciative of anything we did for them.

    I had the opportunity early on to take a graduate level class in Reference along with other LARL staff which was offered over several weekends by St. Cloud State U. at an offsite location (Moorhead). Throughout the years our Regional Office provided excellent updates and training in information services, customer service and other topics and I found these to be not only helpful for my work, but also enriching.

In 2006 I became a Supervisor and served as assistant to the Hub Supervisor.  Then in September of 2007 I was asked to serve as the Interim Hub Supervisor, a position which became permanent in April 2008.  The Crookston Hub includes the Crookston, Fertile, Climax and McIntosh branches as well as the Gonvick, Halstad and Shelly LINK sites.

What was your relationship to books as a child?
    My parents were great about reading bedtime stories to us as young children and we always had reading materials at home.  I loved books and reading from early childhood on.  My mother took us to the public library every couple of weeks and that was pretty exciting to take home a stack of new books.

What led you to decide to work at a library?
     Library work was very attractive to me as an opportunity to assist others in finding books and information.  It also provided the chance to be in a setting that I loved from my earliest memories.

Where did you attend school and when did you graduate?
    I attended the College of St. Catherine in St. Paul, MN (now known as St. Catherine University) and graduated in 1975 with a B.S. in Education and Library Science.

What words of advice would you give
others in learning how to handle the homeless
and other special users of the library?
     We never know the struggles and hardships that individuals have experienced. In the library setting, we meet all kinds of people from a variety of educational, cultural and economic backgrounds, each with different interests and needs. I believe that everyone is deserving of respect.  When we recognize the inherent dignity of each person, I like to think that we are able to go a long way toward promoting peace in our relationships and peace in our world. Simple things like a smile, a willingness to listen and to assist, can make a difference in a person's day.

What are the greatest changes you have seen to library services?
    When I started we still had card catalogs. Computers and internet access have been the greatest change. They have made such a huge difference in being able to offer more efficient and accurate service and have certainly broadened the access to the wealth of materials available. Lots of public computers and wireless access in our libraries are meeting the needs of a number of people. In 2009 we were able to undergo a remodeling project to include Self-Check machines and the public loved it!  More recently we've been able to respond to a growing desire for access to downloadable eBooks and eAudiobooks.

What is the ideal role of the library in the community?
     I would say that the ideal role of the library is to serve as an equalizer, providing access to resources no matter what one's background or current economic situation might be.  This is democracy at its best.  The role of the library as a community center or gathering place is also very important.  This role provides for the exchange of ideas as well as cultural, educational and entertaining programs.

What is the one most important thing a librarian must keep in mind at all times?
      We have been entrusted with the awesome responsibility of sharing a vast array of resources.  We must do everything we can by way of professional service and a welcoming attitude to let people know what is available to them and to assist them in making the best possible use of the materials and the wealth of information at our fingertips.

What will you miss the most about being a librarian?
    I will miss the wonderful connections that I've enjoyed with our staff, administration & colleagues at the Regional level, the Library Board, the Friends of the Library, and with the many customers who have come through our doors through the years.  I have received so much more than I have given. My years with LARL have been a great opportunity as I experienced exciting changes along with the stability of the traditional role of the library.  We've been fortunate to have good leadership at the Regional Office, with a vision for bringing our library system into the 21st century.   I count my blessings every day!

What do you plan to do after retirement?
    I will be doing some type of work within my community of Mount St. Benedict here in Crookston. Plans are not settled at this time.

I look forward to having more time to read. I plan to visit the Crookston Library often and will continue to bring books home for the older members of my community (the Sisters of St. Benedict).