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Librarian closes one chapter, begins another

By Staff | Mar 29, 2011

On April 8, Judy Tupper will retire after 29 years as the library director at Muir Library in Winnebago. Her co-worker, Joyce Roe, will also retire in April after five years at the library.

On Friday, April 8, Judy Tupper will close the book on her time at Muir Library and thinks the part she’s going to miss the most is seeing all of the friendly faces of regular visitors she’s gotten to know so well.

“It’s going to be kind of sad because after all these years you learn what everybody likes to read,” Tupper says, smiling.

Her life at Muir Library started in 1976, when she was just helping out two nights a week. But by 1982, Tupper had become the library director, and that was the position she would hold for 29 more years before getting ready to say goodbye to the books and hello to retirement.

But the leap to retirement will be a big one since Tupper will have to adjust to going from a packed schedule to having plenty of free time.

While she’s still library director, Tupper keeps busy ordering books, maintaining the library collection, going to meetings, developing annual reports, turning in bills, doing fundraisers with the Friends of the Library and preparing boxes of books to deliver to library stations in Delavan and Easton, among other activities.

Muir Library, Winnebago.

Muir also offers services for homebound residents, so Tupper chooses books for those individuals — giving everyone a chance to read, regardless of their ability to visit the library.

Another large part of her job — the part that’s her favorite — is preparing a variety of programs for the library to offer, including preschool story times, crafts and games for kids and summer reading plans for teens.

“I like planning and implementing the programs,” she says. “Especially the children’s ones.”

Since kids are out of school for the summer, that’s when most of the programs are offered — making it Tupper’s favorite time of year to be working at the library.

“When the kids are here and it’s busy, that’s when it’s most fun,” she says.

Even though she won’t be working at the library through summer, or even all of spring, Tupper is still anxious for the changes Muir will be making in the future.

One change in particular being the addition of eBooks. The electronic books will be offered at the library later this spring, but the check out process is quite a bit different than your average paperback found in the mystery section tucked away in a corner of the building.

“They can download them at home or on the computer here at the library,” Tupper says, explaining that people will need to have their own eBook reader, and when an eBook is due back at the library, it will automatically be taken off the reader — at least that’s how she thinks it will work.

“I haven’t learned everything yet,” Tupper says with a laugh.

She thinks she would prefer to read the old-fashioned way rather than electronically, but still knows the eBooks are going to be an exciting addition to Muir.

“You have to think of everybody and change with the times.”

Tupper’s husband is an even bigger fan of reading than she is, but pretty soon he won’t have such easy access to all the stories he’s interested in getting his hands on.

“He said to me, ‘What are you going to do? You’re not going to get the brand new books right when they come in anymore,'” Tupper recalls.

Even though she’ll no longer have first grab at the library’s offerings, Tupper knows she’ll continue making regular visits to Muir. The rest of her retirement, however, is a little more unwritten.

Tupper says she looks forward to gardening and also volunteering to fill her time, but travel plans may also be on the horizon since she has a daughter that lives in Maryland. She and her husband have visited the east coast in the past, but soon enough, she says, “We’ll be more free to go when we want.”

Tupper’s retirement puts Muir Library in need of a new director, but the upcoming retirement of another employee means Muir will be interviewing for two positions instead of just one.

Part-time library assistant Joyce Roe has worked a couple of weeknights and Saturdays at the library for the past five years, but come April 23, she’ll be entering retirement, as well.

Interviews for prospective new library directors and assistants will be held at the end of March, and if nobody is hired by the time the two women retire, two other part-time librarians will be managing Muir until the positions are filled.