Kathy Brennan retired as the long time president of the Friends of the Medfield Library this week, and the selectmen declared that day, December 8, as “Kathleen Brennan Day.”
These were Kathy’s remarks at the retirement reception on Wednesday evening and in her email today to solicit our ongoing membership in the Friends of the Medfield Library –
December 8, 2015
As I retire after 14 years (13? I think I’ve lost count) as President of the Friends of the Medfield Library, this is what I have learned.
When hands are few, efficiency and perseverance are key. For several years, our dauntless little group of five-friends-that-could has chugged along adding about $20,000 a year to the library’s budget. We know if our train ever stops so does most library programming, as well as museum passes, creative writing scholarships and the amenities that make our library more than just books. So we chug along, as determinedly efficient as we can be.
Sue Wilson is our engine. Her enduring drive and nonstop motor form the heart of our book sale efforts. She’s in the background, humming along with a vision and a mission and a plan. Her quiet leadership was clearly on display throughout our three day long book sales. While I’d wilt after my one-hour shift, Sue always seemed her freshest on day three.
It’s Karen Anszperger who provides the high test fuel for the engine, always giving thoughtful debate to maximizing profits for the library while not overpricing for our customers. She fights for every penny because it’s FOR THE LIBRARY. My fundraiser’s heart would lift when I’d hear Karen say, “Let’s make it $8 a bag this year.”
Sally Sheldon attends to our details – meticulously keeping track of our members and our proceedings. Sally also doesn’t neglect the nice details – her special touches like candy canes, balloons, and hand-wrapped gift-wrapped book sets add a personal and caring, friendly touch. Sally’s a former teacher and I have been grateful for her help dotting the i’s and crossing the t’s I’d otherwise have missed.
LD Sheldon is our regulator. He keeps us on track and focused. He crunches our numbers, safeguards our funds – YOUR contributions – and provides useful counsel on questions financial and otherwise. LD has been a careful sergeant-at-arms who has protected our money – and our meetings – from disorder.
As for me, I guess I’ve been the Krazy Glue, filling in the gaps with my own special brand of cohesion, which can sometimes clog up the works too. I suppose it’s my small business survival-in-the-trenches training these past thirty years. Just get the job done and move on to the next one.
So for years, I have hung banners, penned press releases, and created book sale posters. I have enjoyed, and set up chairs for, poetry readings, musical guests, mystery author panels and balloon animal creators. I’ve led or attended at least a million meetings and that’s only if you count my three cycles of strategic planning and two stints on the executive director search committee. And whether a point of pride or pain, I once formatted and printed 2,400 personalized book plates. Ahhh, good times.
Any sane person, like my daughter, might ask as she did, “Why do all this?”
“That’s why they call it volunteer work, honey,” is what I told her.
Volunteer work that can be mundane or menial or exasperating or repetitive and infinitely time-consuming in any and all combinations. Sort of like my real job, but there the reward is more tangible.
What keeps us going? Well for me this must be my labor of love.
I have held a library fascination since my four-year-old eyes first found the two white marble lions guarding the front door of the Watertown (NY) Public Library. I looked for them every time we drove by and still do when I go back to visit today.
I met Nancy Drew at the Wolcott (CT) library a few years later and formed a long, loving friendship with her that must explain why my book of choice even today is usually a mystery.
When I walked in for the first time 18 years ago – it was the “old” Medfield library back then – this felt like a familiar, cozy and welcoming place with built in friends behind the circulation desk – those wonderful people who busy themselves being helpful and creating a library that is useful and relevant, fun, and so friendly. It is a point of pride that I’ve worked with the only four directors the library has ever had: Jane Archer, Dan Brassell, Deborah Kelsey, and now Kris Chin, all leaving their marks of distinction on this wonderful place.
And so my work is done now. I’ve shown my library love. Now I’m going to bask in it for a bit. You’ll find me relaxing in the periodical room, probably reading the new Michael Connolly.
I am excited to hand off my glue stick to the new Friends President, Ninette van Lingen and Vice President, Carol Wasserman who will add an enthusiastic and energetic shine to the group’s well-tuned machinery.
I hope you’ll show them your library love. Pitch in, participate, speak up, be a Friend!
As ever your Friend,
Kathy Brennan,Outgoing President
Friends of the Medfield Library
P.S. I’d consider it a personal favor if you renewed your Friends membership for 2016. You can either use the form you received in the mail last week or the form I have attached to this email. I thank you.