GREENWOOD – For Karen Frank, retiring is bittersweet.
On one hand, she gets to spend her days exploring her fondness for fishing. On the other hand, Frank also is letting go of something she loves – the Greenwood Public Library.
“I can’t believe I’m retiring and leaving,” Frank said.
After helping establish the library 45 years ago, being on the library board multiple times and 20 years as librarian, the influential community member announced her farewell during a library board meeting in September.
The board was shocked, Board President Julie Wrich said.
“We were just like, ‘Is she yanking our chain? Is she for-serious? Oh, dang, she’s for-serious,’” Wrich said.
Frank had her last day at the library on Nov. 4 and spent it training the new librarian, Danielle Rein.
“I think she’ll do a great job,” Frank said. “Since she’s young she can bring in new and fresh ideas and put her own stamp on the place.”
Frank has lived in Greenwood for 60 years, moving to the village when she was five years old from her birthplace in Youngstown, Ohio. When the library started, she had just gotten out of surgery and could not work. Her aunt reached out and told Frank about the library. Frank said she helped organize the card catalogs and donated books.
Once the library was established, Frank became a board member and completed one term. Since then, she worked at the library for about three years, held two more terms on the board as president and for the last 20 years she held the position of library director.
According to Frank, the job is more than checking in and checking out books. In her time as library director, the facility has remodeled, expanded and become automated. She weeds out old books, wrangles kids for the summer reading program and even takes out the trash.
“You do everything from the director job to the janitor job,” Frank said.
According to Wrich, the work Frank has done will be missed and not forgotten.
“She’s going to be missed and we know where she lives,” Wrich said jokingly.
In the future, Frank doesn’t deny totally parting ways with the library. She said she might join the board down the road, but has no official plans yet. Whether it’s a year down the line or indefinite amount of time, Frank said what she’ll miss the most is being able to socialize with the library patrons.
“I think a lot of good patrons use the library, very good library patrons, they stick up for the library,” Frank said. “They understand how the library works. I’m going to miss those people.”
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